Beef stew can be boring or you can make it exciting with different spices that will give you the extra “yummy.” It is such a hearty, rich, easy to make comfort food. An ideal fall, winter dish that warms up the house and our bellies.
Beef Stew with Root Vegetables
The sweetness in the dish comes from the carrots, rutabaga and maple syrup. You can add parsnips, beets or potatoes. The recipe calls for browning the beef and sauté the vegetables but I am usually in a hurry and just throw everything together and depending on what else I am doing will either cook it in the oven or the crock pot.
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cayenne (optional)
2 pounds stewing beef cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil plus more if needed
1 pound carrots cut up to ¼ inch thickness
2 cups chopped onion
4 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup red wine
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
2 cups beef or vegetable stock
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Combine coriander, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne. Toss with beef. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat oil in heavy ovenproof pot over high heat. Working in batches, add beef and brown on all sides. Remove from pot and set aside.
3. Reduce heat to medium. Add some more oil if needed. Add carrots and rutabaga and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
4. Add more oil if needed and sauté onions until softened. Add garlic for 1 more minute. Pour in red wine and sherry vinegar. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half.
5. Add stock, thyme and bay leaf. Return meat to pot and bring back to a boil. Cover and transfer to oven. Bake for 2 hours then stir in vegetables and maple syrup. Cover and return to oven for 1 more hour or until the meat and vegetables are tender.
6. Sprinkle with parsley just before serving.
Toffee Apple Cake
I needed a quick dessert and I had some apples that were just about ready to head for the compost. I checked out the cookbook by Robin Hood ‘Baking Festival’ and found a recipe that would work. I didn’t have any toffee bits so I added chopped crystallized ginger to the batter and then sprinkled some semi-sweet chocolate on top. I switched sugars and flours and it was a hit. An ideal cake for lunch boxes. Wrap individual pieces and freeze, then pack when making lunches in the morning.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar or coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour or substitute with spelt or whole wheat or go half and half
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups diced peeled apples
3/4 cup toffee bits
1/3 cup all-purpose flour or spelt or whole wheat
2 Tbsp brown sugar or coconut sugar
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup toffee bits
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or parchment paper a 13- by 9-inch cake pan.
2. Cream the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl. Stir in the sour cream, apples and toffee bits. Combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Gently stir into the wet ingredients. Pour into the prepared pan.
3. For the topping combine all ingredients, mixing until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over batter.
4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.