This week has been a collection of odds and end's: icy weather, a dinner invitation in Austin, a friend's visit to my shop on Friday. Tuesday's weather was a continuation of Monday - foggy, windy, overcast, cold, but with an added element of misty rain. Hallelujah! The rain froze; it took twenty minutes Wednesday morning to knock ice off my Jeep before I could drive to the Beth Moore's study on Esther. No complaints here, though, because ice means a slow melt off the roof into the rainwater collection gutters.
The cold weather makes me want comfort food, so I started a beef stew last night in the crock pot. Here's my recipe:
1-1/2 lb. stew meat
1 large onion, chopped in large pieces
1-2 cups baby carrots. whole or sliced
2-3 cups potatoes, cubed
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can English peas, drained
1 can fresh cut green beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes
Water, enough to cover meat by at least an inch
2-3 dashes hot sauce
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Cut meat into bite-sized pieces, *season flour with salt and pepper then lightly cover the meat, brown in olive oil with onions. Transfer browned meat to crock pot with high setting, then cover meat with water. When meat is almost tender, add carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes. I add the corn, peas, and green beans about 30 minutes before serving - no reason, just a preference.
If freezing part of the recipe, I remove the meat and broth before adding the vegetables. Serve with fresh cornbread.
Here are two tips for cornbread whether made from scratch or a mix: Put butter in the baking pan, melt in oven until just almost brown, then pour the mixture into the pan. It sears the bottom of the cornbread and seems to cook a little faster. Also, if you like sweet cornbread, add a couple of tablespoons of honey to the batter.
*It is not necessary to brown the meat; sometimes, I just throw the meat and the onions in the crock pot and turn it on. Browning the meat, though, gives the stew a little different flavor from when the meat is not browned. It's a matter of taste and time.
Until next time, God bless you.