There’s a reason why food in northern climates includes a lot of stews and roasted meals. The heat from cooking used to be a major factor in keeping a house warm and cozy, and at a time of year when you couldn’t get fresh vegetables, you could still enjoy delicious and nutritious meals. Besides, the aroma from a stew cooking in the oven is the best greeting when you come home!
Nutritious and Easy
Stewing or roasting vegetables, or meat and vegetables together, in one pot comes with many benefits:
- The vitamins and goodness in the various ingredients all remain in your meal, instead of being boiled off in steam or water.
- The flavours mix together in marvellous ways, particularly when you add your favourite herbs.
- The ingredients cook at different rates so you get smooth sauces or gravy in addition to varying textures.
- It’s a great way to use up vegetables that look a bit unappetizing (e.g. wilted celery and carrots, bits of left over cabbage, etc.)
- Stews call for the cheaper, lean cuts of meat (beef, pork, chicken thighs) because the meat tenderizes while being cooked)
- You only have to clean one pot or pan!
Classic Beef Stew
- 1 to 2 lbs. of beef stew meat (decide for yourself how much meat you want), cut into 1-inch cubes.
- 1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1-1/2 cups chopped onions
- 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 cup of beef broth, or ½ cup broth and ½ cup red wine
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces, or 8-10 mini potatoes, unpeeled
- 1 cup sliced celery (1-inch lengths)
Add additional vegetables:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Diced Squash or sweet potatoes
- Sliced Parsnips
- Broccoli (larger pieces)
- Add 1 tsp. Rosemary for additional flavour.
Stews and meals work just as well without meat.
- In an oven-safe Dutch oven, brown beef in batches in oil; drain. Return all meat to the pan. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil.
- Cover stew and bake at 350° for 2 hours. Check after an hour to see if more liquid is needed.
- Once out of the oven, taste and add additional salt or spices.
- Discard bay leaf.
- Mash some of the vegetables to thicken the liquid.
For Pan Meals
Instead of placing the above items in a pot, place on a large pan, sprinkled with cooking oil such as olive oil. Roast at 350 until everything is browned and well cooked. Stir occasionally to distribute items.