Thursday, March 22, 2012

Homemade Hearty Beef Stew

Confession: I always feel a little conflicted about posting very "meaty" recipes. 

Those who know me know that I am an "ethical" eater. That is, I try to eat most of my food small organic, small scale, seasonal, and local. That can be tricky with meat.

Or at the very least, it complicates things a little more. It not only needs to be all of the above, but pastured and NOT grain fed, as well.

Side Note: I've noticed in the grocery store lately that producers are advertizing their meat as "grain fed" - particularly the beef and chicken. If you get anything out of this post get this... 

Grain fed is not a good thing. 

Animals are not meant to eat grain. Sure, they aren't being fed the chicken litter off the chicken barn floor or left over beef bits (yes, that is what conventional meat is fed) = a whole lot of excess antibiotics, hormones, and possible health risks for you; but grain isn't much better. It's likely genetically modified or engineered, grown on mass scale with chemical inputs, and shipped all over the world. You are eating all of that when you eat your grain fed meat. Not to mention what that kind of diet does to the animal who consumed it to begin with. 

Instead: Google a few hits, make a few phone calls and find which producers and/or sellers in your area are raising organic pastured animals. Pastured is key. Pastured is a way of living - both for the eater and the animal. It fosters the essence of the cow, or pig, or chicken, or goat, or bison, or lamb, or whatever your poison is. For more information on pastured meat, click here.

Back to reality: Right. So, organic, small scale, seasonal, local & pastured meat. Tall order. And the guilt that comes with posting about meat. 

We need to cut down our meat consumption for a sovereign food system. And when I post about meat - particularly without the above premise - I feel like I'm not doing the world any good. Does posting my meaty meal encourage more meat consumption rather than less? Or does it encourage a holistic, and natural way of eating seasonally? Am I thinking this through too much? Ah!

So meat: Eat less. When you do eat, eat pastured. And don't think I'm obsessing.... I might be obsessing. Just a little.

Homemade Hearty Beef Stew


1 1/2 Lb Chuck Stew Meat, cut into 1-2" pieces.
3 Small-Medium Turnips, peeled & chopped into 1" pieces.
3 Carrots, chopped into 1" pieces.
8 New Baby Red Skin Potatoes, cut in half.
3 Stalks of Celery, chopped.
1 Onion, chopped into 2" thick slices.
5 Garlic Cloves, peeled.
2 C Beef Stock.
28 oz. Canned Tomatoes.
1 C Dry Red Wine.
Italian Seasonings (i.e. Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary, etc...).
1 Bay Leaf.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
 Kosher Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

What to Do:

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the beef pieces - you may have to do this in batches. Brown well all over. Remove from the pan and put in a large stock pot.

Once the beef is browned, turn the heat down to medium. Add a couple glugs of olive oil to the pan and add the carrots, celery and onion - this is the base of the stew (and many other dishes), it's called a Mirepoix (meer-pwah). Stir well to coat. Cook for about 5 minutes or until just starting to get a bit of color on the vegetables, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomatoes, seasonings, bay leaf, and wine. Season with salt and pepper. Allow the wine to reduce for about 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into the stock pot along with the beef stock, turnips, and garlic cloves.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and allow to slow cook the mixture for 2 1/2 - 3 hours.

In the final half hour of cooking, add the potatoes and make sure they're covered with the liquid.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a great big hunk of honey'd corn bread.


What do you obsess over? 
What do you think about my meat issue? Have you ever thought about this "grain fed" business? What kind of "happy" meat or vegetables are available near you?


This post is linked up with Cast Party Wednesday; This Chick Cooks; Full Plate Thursday; Tastetastic Thursday; Fight Back Friday; Fresh Bites Friday; Seasonal Inspiration Saturday;


  1. It's getting cooler here so beef stew sounds just right and I found the information on ethical meats very interesting so thank you! :)

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your great recipe with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great Spring week end and come back to see me real soon!
    Miz Helen

  3. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.

  4. I made this recipe because the boyfriend was craving stew (yes... in August) and it was AMAZING!! Thank you for sharing your recipe :-)