One of the most surprising things to me about running my own home is how much I enjoy meal planning. Over the last year and a half I have relished the process of meal planning even during stressful seasons. It’s a little weird.
I love how preparing to make a classic comfort food can be a comfort in itself during seasons of change and trouble. I love how planning a menu for an evening with friends is both exciting and cause for a little nervousness. I love how meal planning is a puzzle: “how can I make the best, most nutritious, most delicious food with ‘x’ amount of money this week?”
Meal planning is nearly as cathartic for me as the actual act of cooking or baking. I’d love to share my tips, tricks, and strategies for meal planning and grocery shopping with you sometime, if you’re interested. 🙂
And now, a story:
Last week, the weather app I use foretasted a drizzly day with dip in temperature. I decided to take this opportunity to give one last nod to winter’s comfort food before launching into the exciting season of produce abundance that is spring and summer. I made Rosemary Beef Stew with mashed potatoes. I’m sure this dish has existed in recipe form for a long time, but this recipe is my own:
A more organized list of ingredients + full instructions below the jump:
For the stew:
- 1 pound cubed beef (often packaged as stew meat.)
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups beef stock (broth will work here too.)
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup red wine (not cooking wine! Real wine you would actually drink.)
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped. (I like to make them about the same size as the beef.)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the mashed potatoes:
- 3 Medium sized russet potatoes
- Water, or if you used store bought beef stock, you can use up the last of it here instead of, or in addition to water. This adds great flavor.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- A splash of milk or half & half
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- In your dutch-oven, heat olive oil on medium-high heat for about a minute.
- Place each piece of beef in the pot to brown on both sides. (about 30 seconds – 1 minute per side.) Salt beef lightly while it’s browning on the first side.
- Once browned on both sides, remove the beef from the pot and allow to rest on a plate. I typically brown the meat in batches so the dutch oven doesn’t get too crowded.
- Once all meat is browned, de-glaze the pot by pouring in the beef stock & red wine. Bring liquid to a simmer, place meat back in the pot along with peeled, cubed carrots and reduce heat to low.
- Sprinkle in rosemary and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Cover, and allow to cook for 45-minutes to 1 hour. (Meat should be very tender.)
- Peel and cube all three potatoes and place in a large saucepan or pot.
- Cover potatoes with water (or any extra beef stock you might have on hand) and simmer until potato pieces are tender.
- Strain potatoes and place in a mixing bowl. Break up potato pieces with a fork, and add butter and a splash of milk or half & half. Stir until consistency is mostly smooth. (Some small lumps are fine!)
- Add salt & pepper to taste.
Ladle the stew over mashed potatoes in shallow bowls. Serve with red wine!
This recipe easily serves two people with a third helping for leftovers. It’s very scale-able if you’re feeding 4-6 people!