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Recipe Monday: Mabon Stew + Lifestyle Change

September 23, 2013

This past Saturday, we had a bunch of friends over to celebrate Mabon with us. πŸ˜€ There was laughter, games, a small ritual, and a feast. I made an autumn beef stew that was a huge hit, and I thought I would share the recipe here with you! But first, I want to also discuss a small change that will be happening on this blog.
I signed my family up for a weekly produce box. Every Tuesday, a local company delivers a large box of fruit and a large box of vegetables–organic and locally grown–to our door. I did this for a couple of reasons. One was to encourage us to eat more fruit and vegetables. If they’re here, I’ll cook with them. Another was to save of money and food waste. Usually, my husband-thing goes shopping twice a month, and the vegetables will spoil quickly because we don’t use them fast enough. I thought this would be better since we receive a fresh influx of vegetables and fruit once a week, and so he doesn’t have to buy them and we don’t have to throw away spoiled food.
This is part of my Mabon-Samhain decision. I am taking control of my life in a lot of ways. πŸ™‚ My husband’s job loss last month really helped put things into perspective for me, and now that he’s found a new job, and we’re in a new house, we’re turning over a new leaf. Part of this was me creating The Strawberry Kitchen Witch blog, where I will share recipes, reviews of my NatureBox and my produce boxes, and our meal planning. If you like my Recipe Monday, then this is a blog you should follow. πŸ™‚ I will no longer post the recipes here directly, but I will do posts on Mondays here linking to my cooking blog. Mondays here, I think, will also be dedicated to my KS Charms endeavor. So, Mondays will become a bit of a hodge podge of stuff. πŸ˜€
Mabon Stew
I want to say something very important about this–and most–stews. Doing a first cook of the stew (cooking it a couple of hours), cooling it, and refrigerating it overnight (or two!), improves the flavor like you wouldn’t believe. Stew is a special, lovely sort of hearty meal, and when you allow all the flavors to meld overnight in the fridge, magic happens. I highly, highly suggest that you plan for this meal to be serves a day or two after you cook it, and that’s what my directions here assume you’ll do. πŸ™‚
The yield for this recipe is about 18-24 servings, and if I hadn’t made this for a large crowd, I would have split the recipe up into three meals. It freezes very, very well.
4lbs london broil, cubed
1 large onion, roughly diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 butternut squash, large cubes
6 medium potatoes, large cubes
6 large carrots, thickly sliced
3 large celery ribs, thickly sliced
1lb mushrooms, thickly sliced
32oz frozen pearl onions
8oz tomato paste
2 cinnamon sticks
1TBSP dried parsley
1TBSP honey
1TBSP steak seasoning
52oz beef stock
24oz chicken stock
3/4C red wine
4TBSP butter
4TBSP flour
1. Generously salt and pepper the london broil and brown it in batches in a stock pot over high heat, adding more oil as necessary. And I do mean brown the meat. Make sure there is a lovely, deeply brown, crusty exterior to the meat. This is where a lot of flavor comes from. Set cooked meat aside in a bowl.
2. Lower the heat to medium and add in the diced onion and the sliced celery. Add 1/2tsp salt and a pinch of pepper. Cook for five minutes, and then add the minced garlic.
3. Add tomato paste. Cook for five minutes. Add red wine. Cook for five minutes. Add back cooked meat and all its juices.
4. Add liquids, and then add carrots, butternut squash, and potatoes. Add honey, parsley, 1TBSP steak seasoning, 1/2TBSP salt, 1tsp pepper, and the two cinnamon sticks. If liquid does not just barely cover all the vegetables, add water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer for one hour.
5. At this point, taste the broth. I usually need to adjust the salt, pepper, steak seasoning, and honey. Remove the cinnamon sticks. After adjusting seasonings, cook another half hour. Taste again and make final seasoning adjustments.
6. Split the stew up into containers and cool completely to room temperature. Store in the fridge overnight or up to 48 hours.
7. On the day you plan to serve, separate the solids from the liquids by using a slotted spoon. Add solids to a large pot. Set aside.
8. In another pot, add butter and flour. Cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Slowly add 4 cups of the stew liquid. Cook for five minutes. If it’s too thick, add more liquid. I like the liquid to be pretty loose as the stew does need to reheat, and it will continue to thicken. Add the liquid from the pot to the solids, place that pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add in pearl onions and sliced mushrooms. Reduce heat and simmer for another hour to an hour and a half. Serve when mushrooms and onions are cooked through.
This is a delicious and amazing stew. There are a lot of steps, some wait time, but… man. It’s good. πŸ™‚

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