You may not share my approach to living. I’m most happy and feel terribly rich when there’s a big pot of something luscious bubbling on the stove–especially on a snowy day.
Enough to feed 12 is about right. And maybe there’s a bottle of wine airing on the table with glasses perched just within reach. A fresh baguette wafting its bouquet throughout the kitchen. Salted butter, of course. Paris Café music on the Bose, as we’re just back from France:
Turned way up. Or Pearl Django. Maybe John Legend. Willie Nelson. I’m aware some people live different lives, fulfilled by such things as working on the ability to climb Mt. Everest (I think if God had wanted us to climb such mountains, she would have put us nearer the top), swimming the English channel (I’m all for pools!), an always-clean house (shades down and candles burning here for nighttime entertaining), the perfect pair of 3-inch heels (see my cute ballerina flats), or two-cords of freshly-chopped wood (I have someone who does this; he’s called my husband). In other words, a big pot of bubbling loving stew might not be exactly your favorite thing in life. You could reconsider. Read on.
These recipes are for someone who has the energy and breath to cut up all this food, throw it in a pot (gently), turn the stove on, and wait for the chemistry to accomplish its pretty spectacular mission. (Time to read or walk? Dave saw these cuties on a walk with our dogs on Monday.)
It’s for the individual with a purely patient frame of mind. For the one who envisions sharing an hour or more of eye-to-eye confrontation over the finished bowl or two along with some thoughtful, sharing conversation.
You needn’t go this far, though I do once in a while…
but attention to the table itself shows you care about the comfort and contentment of those for whom you cook as well as about providing a proper, respectful place for the food you spent 3 hours cooking. (Or maybe that you just like setting the table)
An attractive table could convince someone to breathe and kick back in order to peacefully enjoy the healthy food, the time, and the company. In our tense, fear-filled world, I’d say this could be worth its weight in gold.
“Because the good news to a hungry person is bread.” ~~Desmond Tutu.
Think about spending more time at the table. What’s your hurry?
A pot of stew, that toothsome dinner that encourages an afternoon at home, can be made in more ways than you can shake a stick. (How does one shake a stick?) The meat varies by availability and cost; the vegetables according to season. Best simmering all one fall or winter afternoon, you can choose exactly what your kitchen’s aromas will be.
Below are two hearty versions, one for the local yokel in the southwest (Green Chile Beef Stew with Butternut Squash) and one for the More Time, French Style: Boeuf Bourguignon. Choose one and be fed. Make both and freeze one to serve over the holidays such as the Saturday after Thanksgiving when one more plate of turkey simply won’t do or for Christmas Eve when all you want to do is put your feet up and eat cookies.
ABOUT GREEN CHILE STEWS:
In the southwest, chile stews come in many varieties and while they are often made with pork shoulder, in Colorado we also love them with beef–pot roast, brisket, or ground beef. For special days, our chile stews might include our famous Colorado lamb (if we can find some that hasn’t been exported)–usually a shoulder or boned leg, but sometimes even a great big hunk of decadent ground lamb. Vegetarian versions are also a popular and inexpensive, healthy way to feed a crowd. However I make it, I like to use a variety of vegetables and sometimes a potato or sweet potato, and i occasionally add the quintessential pinto beans. ¡Haz lo que quieras! (Do as you please!) Whatever you do, don’t skip the garnishes. Try this:
GREEN CHILE BEEF STEW WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH
If your chiles are hot, you might want to skip the crushed red pepper in this recipe. Hot, buttered tortillas are a typical accompaniment for chile stews. Other garnishes might include minced green onions or thinly sliced radishes — as we do with posole.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pieces bacon, chopped
- 3 pounds beef pot roast, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Crushed red pepper
- 2 each: large onions, stalks celery, carrots, peeled — chopped, minced, and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces, respectively
- 1 large Colorado potato, peeled, and diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 generous tablespoon dried oregano
- Small handful chopped fresh parsley (about 1/3 cup)
- 1/2 pound roasted green chiles–about 4– peeled and chopped (or use 2 cans –4 1/2 oz each–drained canned chiles)*
- 2 cups diced butternut squash (about 16 ounces, 1 pound before trimming–or 1/2 a medium butternut squash)
- 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) tomato paste
- 1 cup white wine or chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup corn, fresh or frozen
- Grated extra-sharp cheddar and chopped fresh cilantro for garnish, optional
Add oil to a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot. Heat over medium-high flame and add bacon and half of the beef. Season with 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Brown both sides of beef and remove to a bowl. Add rest beef and repeat. Add cooked beef in bowl back to the pot. Stir in onions, celery, carrots, potato, and let cook 5-6 minutes until vegetables are softening; sprinkle with salt. Add garlic, oregano, parsley, green chiles, and squash. Let cook another 2 minutes, stirring, and spoon in tomato paste. Mix well.
Pour in wine. Stir down and simmer until wine is absorbed, 3-4 minutes. Pour in water and broth; raise heat and bring a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook until everything is tender–about 2 hours, adding corn for last 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot garnished with cheese and cilantro, if desired.
Serving those hot tortillas? Make 2 packages of about 6 each, wrap in aluminum foil, and heat 10 or 12 minutes in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven. Serve hot with butter, if desired.
*Our local Colorado chiles are usually Pueblo chiles, which are sometimes a bit hot for me. I like flavor more than heat. I often choose mild Hatch chiles (which look just like Anaheim chiles) from New Mexico, which come in various heat levels–be careful– and can be found roasted on street corners or in farmer’s markets in Colorado and New Mexico late summer and early fall. If I buy them on the corner, I let them cool, peel and chop them, and freeze them in plastic freezer bags. Sometimes I buy fresh and roast them myself right on the stove top. (above) Whichever you choose, taste your roasted chiles before you put them in your stew so you know how to adjust the seasonings for your own tastes. Canned Hatch chiles are often labeled, “mild.”
WINE/BEER: Spicy beef stews pair well with a Syrah, though here in Colorado a local craft beer will show up regularly. It’s our water. Try your favorite brown ale with this.
If you’d like a kitchen trip to Burgundy, France, go with More Time’s…
BOEUF BOURGUIGNON-Streamlined (Beef Burgundy)
While the following appears a lengthy endeavor, and perhaps it is, it’s not difficult and skips several steps from the older recipes. You will still need the best part of an afternoon for preparation and cooking despite my streamlining the recipe. (Or make a day ahead or early in day and reheat. I’ve also had good luck freezing it, unthawing and cooking when needed.) This is a special occasion meal; it’s worth your time and effort! Do read through the recipe before beginning. Buy three bottles of wine. You’ll need one for the pot and and two for the table. Serve with the best baguette or crusty bread you can find.
- Salted butter and olive oil
- 2 cups thawed frozen pearl onions
- 8 ounces button mushrooms, cut in half
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Dried thyme
- 3 pieces of bacon, chopped
- 3 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1 – 2-inch pieces
- 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose, unbleached white flour
- Kosher salt
- 2 each: medium yellow onions, stalks of celery, garlic cloves–chopped
- 1/4 cup brandy (can substitute red wine)
- 3 large carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1 – 2-inch pieces
- 2 small parsnips, peeled, trimmed, and sliced
- 2 small turnips, peeled, trimmed, and chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced
- 2 Turkish bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Fresh parsley, divided (1/2 in a bunch for cooking and the rest chopped/reserved for garnish)
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 750 ml bottle Pinot Noir
- 2 cups beef or chicken stock, low sodium
- In a 6-8-quart Dutch oven or oven-safe pot, heat 1 tablespoon each: salted butter and olive oil over medium flame. Add thawed pearl onions and button mushrooms. Sprinkle with a generous pinch each of black pepper and dried thyme. Let brown, then stir, and cook a bit more until tender. Remove from pot, cool, and refrigerate until later. To the pot, add 3 chopped pieces of bacon and let cook until nearly done. Remove from pot, cool, and refrigerate along with the onions and mushrooms. Leave bacon fat in pan.
- Toss the pieces of beef with flour and season with lightly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In 3 batches, brown the beef very well (If the pan becomes too dry, add a tablespoon of butter or olive oil. All the brown in the bottom of the pan will come up later.) When last batch is nearly browned, add the onions, celery, and garlic. Let cook a couple of minutes, stirring, and pour in brandy or red wine and bring to a boil. Stir to bring up bits at bottom if the onions didn’t do the job. Let cook 2-3 minutes, stirring. Add the beef you browned earlier back into the pot and stir.
- To the pot, add the carrots, parsnips, turnips, and fennel. Stir in 1 tablespoon dried thyme, 2 Turkish bay leaves, and tomato paste. Tie up a half-bunch of parsley and then the the sprigs of thyme each with kitchen string and lay them on top of the stew.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Sprinkle vegetables with another 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, and, if desired (I desire), a pinch of crushed red pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Pour in the bottle of Pinot Noir along with the 2 cups beef or chicken stock over all. Bring to a low simmer. Cover and place in oven.
- Cook until beef and vegetables are almost tender, about 2 1/2 – 3 hours. When beef is nearly done, add the reserved pearl onions, mushrooms, and bacon, stir, and return to oven until quite hot and everything is fork tender–perhaps 15-20 minutes. (If you briefly heat the onion mixture before adding it to the stew, you’ll save time.)
- Taste and adjust seasonings one last time. If too thin, thicken stove top with the addition of a tablespoon or two of flour whisked into 1/4 cup water or wine. Stir in and bring to a boil, cooking until thickened up a bit. ** If stew is too thick, add 1-2 cups of chicken or beef stock or water and let heat again stovetop. Taste and re-season if necessary. I like the stew to be loose enough for dunking bread or for mashing up the root vegetables in. In other words, you need the gravy.
- Serve hot garnished with a little chopped fresh parsley or, if not needed until tomorrow, cool totally, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Next day, re-heat over low flame slowly, covered, stirring often for a half hour or so. It should come to a boil at least briefly before serving.
Serving Notes: Many people serve this stew alongside new potatoes or, according to my French teacher, egg noodles. You could also choose some white rice seasoned with salt and pepper or even mashed potatoes. I like it with great bread (baguette or another crusty loaf) for dipping and dunking.
Typically a little green salad with vinaigrette is served here in the States with the beef. I also like it with some quickly steamed green beans and a drizzle of mustard-vinaigrette as a salad. It’s nice to have something with a bit of crunch and freshness for contrast.
**You can also use equal amounts of butter and flour, mashed together (buerre manie)–perhaps a tablespoon or two each.
The above recipe has been on the blog a time or two, including for election night, 2016. Here’s that version that includes the exact same recipe.
Making a birthday, holiday, or dinner party meal? Here are my other course ideas particularly for the Boeuf Bourguignon meal:
Appetizer: Fig and Walnut Tapenade with Goat Cheese
Salad: Acorn Squash and Apple Salad (my recipe contains turkey; leave it out)
Wine/Beer: While a light Mexican beer would be perfect for the Green Chile Stew, if you’d like wine, which I would, try a California or other Syrah–not a blend. That won’t fight with the heat in the stew. For the beef, you can buy an inexpensive French burgundy or Oregon Pinot Noir at the wine shop or go whole hog and ask for their best bottles. Tasty Burgundy is an investment you won’t soon forget! (I like Sineann, Bethel Heights, or Christom for Oregon Pinots.)
Dessert: For either of these meals I like Melissa Clark’s Extra-Bittersweet Chocolate Pots de Crème. While I’ve made this a dozen times, I can’t find a photo. I’m making it today, so will fill in this blank! Almost everyone loves chocolate and this is much lighter than a baked dessert. BONUS: it can also be made ahead and stored in the fridge until needed.
IF YOU LIKED THIS YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…
A More Time favorite: Slow Cooker Green Chile Stew with Bacon on Cheddar Potatoes or my
5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Pork (Loin) Green Chile Luscious as a bowl, with beans, or in tortillas for tacos
All about Green Chiles: Denver Green Chiles
More about chiles: The Spruce
Make a new stew and invite someone to spend more time at the table,