Stews are a favorite dish during this time of year for many of us. They fit into that wonderful category of food we all like to refer to as “comfort food” simply because they are warming and filling and make us feel good during these cold winter months.
The greatest thing about stews is that they are very simple to make. Most stews are made in the same manner by following these basic steps:
- Brown the meat or poultry.
- Remove the meat from pan & sauté aromatics such as onions, shallots, and/or garlic.
- Add hearty vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, celery along with seasonings.
- Add stock (beef, chicken or vegetable) along with tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes (if you are doing a tomato based stew).
- Cover and simmer until tender.
The fun part comes in by adding different combinations of spices, wine, dried fruit, herbs, varying the vegetables (perhaps try leeks instead of onions or adding fennel for a different flavor) and/or adding rice to change the consistency. The combinations are endless and the results are absolutely delicious. This month we bring you two sensational stews that are slightly different from your traditional stew of meat and potatoes: Pork Stew with Sparkling Cider and Beef, Wine, Mushroom & Olive Stew. Both of these stews are perfect for company or just to enjoy on a cold winter evening with family.
Pork Stew with Sparkling Cider
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5 slices, gf bacon, cut into 1/4" slices
- 3-1/2 lbs pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 1" pieces
- 1 cup shallots, chopped
- Kosher salt
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 6 teaspoons chopped sage
- 1/2 cup Apple Jack Whiskey
- 2 cups gf chicken broth (or more to cover vegetables)
- 12 oz sparkling cider, we used Martinelli’s
- 1-1/2 lbs red potatoes, cut into 1" pieces
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp
- 2 Tablespoons gf flour mix
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Cook bacon in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat until browned. Transfer bacon to a plate. Sprinkle salt over pork and add to pot in batches of 1 lb each cooking until browned. Remove pork to plate. Reduce heat to medium and add shallots and carrots to pot. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add sage and whiskey and cook until whiskey has almost evaporated. Add broth, sparkling cider, bacon and pork to pot and bring to a boil. Scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add potatoes, onions, apples and enough chicken broth to cover vegetables; cover and cook for 30 minutes. In a small bowl add butter, flour and mustard and stir into a paste. Add to pot and bring again to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Beef, Wine, Mushroom & Olive Stew
- 1/2 cup carrots, sliced
- 1/4 cup celery, sliced
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons of a mixture of parsley, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf, crumbled
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 12 black peppercorns
- Salt to taste
- 3 pounds chuck roast, cut into 15-18 pieces
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
- Bouquet garni; bay leaf, parsley sprigs, thyme and a dried orange peel 2"x2" tied together with kitchen string. (You can dry the orange peel in oven)
- 1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
- 24 gf black olives, rinsed and pitted
- 2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
The day before you want to serve this meal; heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. When hot, add carrots, celery and chopped onions; cook until softened. Add herbs and garlic; cook for 1 minute more. Add wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Place beef pieces in a bowl and cover with cooled wine marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, turning meat once or twice.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a heavy oven-proof pot add meat with marinade and cover with sliced onions. Add tomatoes, bouquet garni and cover casserole. Cook for 1 hour then reduce temperature to 250 degrees F and cook for an additional 3-4 hours.
Thirty minutes before serving, cook pasta per package instructions; drain.
Ten minutes before serving, set pot over low heat. Add mushrooms and olives. Continue to cook until mushrooms are tender.
Remove bouquet garni, readjust seasonings, sprinkle with parsley.
Serve with pasta.
- Chef Yvonne