When in doubt stir the pot

Ever have a day that demands comfort food and perhaps the satisfying whack of a sharp blade against wood? Yeah. Me, too. Some days just require a bit of ‘stewing’ — over issues, challenges and in this case, a stock pot.

In a bad mood? Stir the pot — literally. It’s extremely therapeutic!

I began by pulling ingredients from the fridge — all the while thinking how I used to make soup and how the experts around here have changed my mind. A person can learn a great deal just by hanging around the culinary center and talking shop with the chefs. So with suggestions, expert tips and tasty soup and stew recipes in the back of my mind, here’s my homemade creation of what I call ‘therapy stew’. A step-by-step guide to getting over your ‘grouchy Gus’ syndrome.

1) Melt two tablespoons of butter in a stock pot. Then add diced carrots, celery and onion — or mirepoix [meer-pwah]. These three ingredients are a common base for many dishes like soups and stews. Saute the veggies in butter until the onions are tender and translucent. I used about a 1/2 package of sliced baby carrots, two celery stalks and 1/2 a large onion, plus 2 cloves of minced garlic.

2) While veggies cook, open a one-pound package of stew meat. Only the best, of course. I usually cut the chunks into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Mmm. Just look at those white flecks! Marbling=sensational taste!

3) Drizzle olive oil in a cast iron skillet, then add beef and cook until it reaches your desired doneness. Season with Kosher salt and cracked black pepper.

4) While beef browns, pour a quart of beef stock into a large Dutch oven or stock pot.

5) Add diced potatoes (3-4 medium-sized red potatoes) and a 1/2 quart of tomato juice. When beef is cooked, remove from skillet and ladle into the soup.

6) You will have cooked bits of beef and yummy goodness remaining in the bottom of the skillet. Deglaze the pan with red wine or the liquid of your choice. I used about a cup.

7) Simmer until the alcohol has burned off and the liquid is reduced by half. Be sure to scrape and remove the tasty morsels clinging to the bottom of the skillet.

8) Add the wine reduction to the stock pot. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of cracked black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt or to taste, 1 tablespoon dried parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg.

9) Simmer on low for 1-2 hours.

Serve with biscuits and apple butter like I did, or try a nice crusty French bread. This so-called ‘therapy stew’ is warm and tasty, delicious and filling, and comforting — in a rustic, garden-fresh and beefy sort of way. Yum!

The next time your in a tizzy, do some stewing. You’ll feel better! And don’t worry if you’re not feeling particularly adventurous! Follow these tasty soup and stew recipes from Certified Angus Beef ® chefs.

Published by

Jennifer Kiko

Jennifer lives on a rural route with her husband, kids, horses, cows and faithful Labs, Cash and Carter. She's an aspiring foodie and enjoys making good food for great friends. She lives next door to a winery, plays the piano, and admits to growing too many tomatoes.