Nov 16, 2008

Dutch Winter Stew

It’s Sunday, just got back from a long walk in the park before the bad weather is supposed to set in. I have plenty of free time on my hands, lots of beef in the freezer, stocked up on vegetables, radio tuned in to the best Motown, northern soul music and my munchkin is napping. What more could a girl ask for?

It’s stew time! I love beef, I love vegetables, let’s just mix it all up and create the perfect thick, hearty stew. If this won’t keep you warm, nothing will!


2 pounds beef
1 large onion
1 large carrot
2 garlic cloves
1 celeriac root
1 leek
3 waxy potatoes
1 tsp sweet paprika powder
2 tbsp coarse mustard
1 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 cup beef broth
1 cup beer
celeriac leaves
3 bay leaves
salt & pepper


My kind of autumn. Falling leaves, a cold wind and my playing boy closely followed by the comforting smell of a hearty stew.

What a beautiful sight, isn’t it? It really doesn’t matter if they’re bright colored summer vegetables or sober colored winter vegetables, there’s something enticing about seeing them together like this. Judging by the enormous amount of food in still life paintings, I guess I’m not alone.

Now don’t give me that look! Celeriac root is actually a fabulous vegetable! Forgotten, overlooked and frowned upon, but what its flavor does to stews and soups is nothing short of amazing. You really should give it a try, what have you got to lose?

Just cut about 1/2 inch off the bottom, cut the skin off and coarsely chop it.

Use 2 medium or 1 large carrot, peel it and give it a rough chop as well.

Do the same with the onion and grate two cloves of garlic while you’re at it.

Grab a bowl and combine 1 heaping tbsp flour with 1/2 tsp sweet paprika powder and 1/2 tsp curry powder. Give it a good stir.

The meat saga. Just chop it in coarse pieces and add a generous amount of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Here comes the trick, spoon two tbsp coarse mustard on top, dig your hands in there and rub it all over the meat. It wasn’t until I started this foodblog I noticed how much coarse mustard I really use. It’s fantastic stuff.

Now grab yourself a stew pot. Yes, you can use your fancy Le Creuset and even tell me about it, because look what I bought! Isn’t it pretty? No matter how much I wanted one, I simply couldn’t justify spending E139 ($175) on a Le Creuset. Much to my surprise, I ran into this beauty. It’s a Jamie Oliver (Tefal at home series) stew pot, much cheaper than a Le Creuset but with all the same benefits. It came in a beautiful dark rose color and it looks so incredibly sleek and stylish.

Heat 3 tbsp butter and put your meat in there. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the onions. Give it a good stir and cook for another 2 minutes.

It should be smelling pretty darn good at this point, but we’ll up the fragrance a bit. Add the celeriac root, carrots and garlic. Give everything a good stir and cook for another 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes you can throw in the flour mixture. Coat the meat and vegetables with it and let the flour neutralize for about a minute.

Now the next step will be enough to make grown men cry. I want you to traumatize your husband, yes, I really do! Go over there and grab his bottle of beer. No, no arguing, just grab his beer and run with it as fast as you can. If you’ll wait around to see the look of pure horror and shock on his face, you’re probably going to be too late. Now quickly ‘borrow‘ 1 cup of beer. Tell him you’ll get it back to him later. You will!

Strip a few thyme sprigs and throw them in. I’ve used about 4 sprigs.

Pour the beer in with the meat and add 1 cup of beef broth. Make sure you use room temperature beer! Also throw in a good handful of chopped celeriac leaves.

This is what mine looked like before I popped the lid on. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 75 minutes over low heat.

Now go do something fun!

After those 75 glorious ‘me time’ minutes were up, I dragged myself away from my book and went back into the kitchen to cut up a leek.

Also peeled and chopped 3 large potatoes while I was there anyway.

Not to mention I cut a large handful of mushrooms in half. They’re normally not part of this dish, but if I have them around I always put them in. You can also leave the smaller ones whole.

Add everything to the stew, give it all a good stir and check to see if the stew might need a little more liquid. If it does just add a little water.

Simmer for another 30 to 45 minutes, until the potatoes are properly cooked.

Garnish with a little thyme and a generous amount of celeriac leaves and serve with mashed potatoes. Voila, you’re done!