Sunday, August 13, 2017

Beef and Sweet Potato Stew #SundaySupper

Beef and Sweet Potato Stew is slowly baked in a Dutch oven until unctuous and rich.

Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

Whether we like it or not, the Summer vacation season is drawing to a close. While we here in Ontario didn't get much in the way of Summer weather (monsoon season, maybe!), it was lovely to have any amount of time without needing jackets and winter boots. As the weather progressively cools, especially at night and definitely while a thunder and windstorm rages outside, tucking into a hearty bowl of soup or stew just feels like the right thing to do.

I don't normally cook with beef, since we don't really eat it here - chicken and fish are the main animal proteins on the menu, but beans and tofu are starting to take greater precedence due to health and budget concerns. At any rate, during a freezer purge we came across a package of flank steak originally, we think, intended to become this delicious thing - which, I just realized, I posted 10 years to the day of this stew. No, the beef was not that old... we clean out the freezer regularly I promise! Flank steak doesn't usually scream "stew me", but it had to be used (we loathe throwing away food), and I figured that with all the other "stuff" going into the pot it would be a small enough component that could fly under the radar if tough.

I needn't have worried, since this stew was stellar. The onions, mushrooms, split peas and sweet potatoes added a good deal of body and richness to the mixture, elevated by a couple glasses of red wine. The seasoning was minimal, and fairly standard, except for a pinch of cinnamon to elevate the mineral quality of the beef and the sweetness of the root veggies. The garlic mellowed into the gorgeous sweetness it does so well, thanks to the hour and a half in the oven. Speaking of the oven, that was by far my favourite part of making this - your simmering time is all in the oven, freeing up the stove or letting you wander off worry free.

Like all good stews, this is better the next day, and it freezes well for meals later in the month. If the first month of school is anything like I remember, you might be making good use of meals like this for the evening repast! The #SundaySupper gang is sharing their best "back to school" dinners this week, check them out and be sure to say hi!

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Beef and Sweet Potato Stew
Serves 8
3 tbsp tallow or canola oil, divided
1 lb flank steak, cut into ½”-1” pieces
4 large onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups low sodium beef broth
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp cinnamon
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
½ cup split peas
2 large sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
½ lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
½ oz dried wild mushrooms (I used hedgehog, porcini would be nice too)
4 carrots, cut into ½” half moons
2 stalks celery, cut into ½” pieces
  1. Heat oven to 325°F.
  2. In an ovenproof Dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp tallow or oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add half the beef and brown. Remove with a slotted spoon.
  4. Repeat with remaining beef.
  5. Add remaining tallow or oil to pan.
  6. Add onions and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 20 minutes, until browned.
  7. Raise heat to medium high and add garlic. Cook 1 minute longer.
  8. Stir in thyme, rosemary, paprika, cinnamon, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and cook 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  9. Add broth and wine, stirring to remove browned bits from pan.
  10. Return beef to pot, add split peas and bring to a boil.
  11. Transfer dish to the oven and bake, covered, for 1 ½ hours.
  12. Add sweet potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, and celery.
  13. Partially cover and bake 90 minutes longer, or until beef and vegetables are tender and stew is reduced. 

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 339.2
Total Fat: 9.3 g
Cholesterol: 25.1 mg
Sodium: 386.6 mg
Total Carbs: 44.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 9.3 g
Protein: 20.7 g

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