Things were a tad cool around our parts this weekend. I can't tell you how happy I am to have weather like this. No, not as cold as some of y'all up north, but for us, it's heater weather.
Are you like me? Do you cook differently when the weather turns, be it cold or hot? I'm sorry, but when the temp drops below seventy (okay, sixty) I do not want a salad. However, a nice bowl of soup or stew might be just what I'm craving.
Saturday I really wanted some warm comfort food. On the other hand, I wanted something that wasn't too labor intensive. After all, college football runs all day :-) And what says warms comfort food better than a nice bowl of stew?
For starters, you're going to need 2 - 3 lbs. of stew meat. I watch for it go on sale. Sometimes, I'll snatch up a nice cut of meat that on special and cut it up myself. But this day, I was looking for easy. Now sometimes the stew meat can be a little chewy, so the first thing I do is dump the meat into a zip-top bag and add about a half a cup of Worcestershire sauce. Zip that puppy up and let it sit for an hour or so to tenderize.
Drain off the sauce/juices and place meat into a bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of flour and stir to coat meat.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven and add meat and stir until browned. I know, this looks kind of gray. But it stills smells yummy.
Mix a packet of Beef Stew Seasoning with 3 cups of water.
Pour mixture over beef. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.
While the meat is simmering, cut up 5 cups of whatever veggies you might like in your stew. I went for the standards--celery, onion, carrots, and potatoes because it's what I had on hand. Sometimes I'll add mushrooms and I wished I'd had some parsnips to add to this batch.
At the end of the 45 minutes, add the colorful veggies to the beef mixture and stir. Cover and simmer one hour.
While all this simmering was taking place, I had a loaf of bread going in my bread machine. I know, Ruthy...sacrilege. But I was not in the mood for any kneading. Just dumping and going. Letting the machine do all the work. And let's face it, fresh-baked bread is yummy regardless.
Boy, oh, boy, were my taste buds and tummy happy campers. And while this did take a bit of planning and time, I put forth little effort. I guess about the only actual work I did was cutting up the veggies. And that took me all of 15 minutes, maybe.
Best of all, we had leftovers. Enough for dinner on Sunday. Whooo-hoo!
So how does your cooking differ from summer to winter? What do you make that signifies the changing of the seasons?