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Cook a pot of winter comfort food

Beef stew
Beef stew

I like to cook stews and soups in the winter months so meals are easy and hearty.

Burgundy beef stew-ish (aka beef bourguignonne)

o 1 leek
o 4 stalks parsley
o 3 sprigs thyme
o 1 bay leaf
o 3 lb. beef stew meat (you can cut up a roast in big-ish bite sized pieces)
o 1 large onion diced fine
o 3 carrots, chopped
o 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
o 1 bottle good red burgundy
o 6 oz. pastrami, diced
o salt and freshly ground black pepper
o 1⁄3 cup flour
o 2 cups water
o 1 lb. small white mushrooms, stems trimmed and caps peeled

Put leek, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, beef, onions, carrots, garlic, in a large bowl and add wine. Mix to combine making sure everything is coated then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

Remove the beef from marinade (save the marinade), and pat the beef dry with paper towels. Fry the pastrami in a large pot until crisp, about 5 minutes. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Add the pieces to the pot and sear on all sides (5 to 7 minutes). Sprinkle the flour over the beef and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the marinade and water. Mix to combine and bring to a boil over high heat, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan. At this point you can pour the whole mixture into a crock pot, put on low cover and cook for 4 to 6 hours or reduce the mixture to a simmer in the pan, cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours. Add mushrooms and cook for 30 minutes more. Before serving remove the bay leaf, leek, parsley and thyme. Serves 4 to 6.

Beef and beer stew

o 2 1/2 lb. beef, cut into cubes
o kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
o 1⁄4 cup flour
o 4 tbsp. olive oil
o 4 slices beef fry chopped
o 2 tbsp. chopped garlic
o 3 large onions, thinly sliced
o 2 cups dark ale or beer
o 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
o 2 tbsp. brown sugar
o 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
o 3 sprigs thyme
o 3 sprigs parsley
o 2 sprigs tarragon
o 1 bay leaf
o 3 potatoes, cut into quarters

In a bowl combine the beef with the flour and season with salt and pepper. Mix to coat. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a fry pan and working in batches, sear the outside of the beef pieces. When seared, place them aside on a platter and then cook the beef fry until crispy. Add the remaining oil, garlic, and the onions; cook until golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Add 1 cup of beer; cook, scraping bottom of pot. Cook for about 5 minutes then add the beef, 1 cup beer, broth, brown sugar, vinegar, thyme, parsley, tarragon, bay leaf, and salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, add the potatoes and cook, covered, until beef is tender approx. 1 1⁄2 to 2 hours.

Root vegetable stew aka Tzimmis

o 3 to 4 tbsp. olive oil
o 3 lb. beef stew meat, cut into cubes
o salt and pepper, to taste
o 1 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
o 1⁄4 tsp. nutmeg
o 2 large sweet onions, chopped o 4 cups beef broth
o 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
o 4 oz. pitted prunes, halved
o 4 oz. dried apricots
o 2 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
o 1 tbsp. honey

In batches, in a skillet heat the oil and sear the beef. Place the cooked meat in a crock pot. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and onions stirring to combine. Add the broth, potatoes, prunes, apricots and carrots. Mix to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4, uncovered, until tender, about 1 hour. Just before serving stir in the honey. Serves 6

Chicken stew

o 1 cup sliced celery
o 3/4 cup diced carrot
o 1/2 cup chopped onion
o 2 tsp. minced garlic
o 2 tbsp. olive oil
o 4 cups chicken broth
o 3 cups bottled marinara sauce o 1 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
o 3/4 cup uncooked macaroni noodles (you can use your own favourite)
o 1/2 tsp. black pepper
o 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-in. pieces

In an oven proof Dutch oven sauté the celery, carrot, and onion in the oil. Stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn, cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute then add the broth, marinara, garbanzo beans, noodles and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Reduce to a simmer and add the chicken. Mix to combine and cook 4 to 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Serves 4 to 6 depending on the size of the serving.