Stews fit for a fine spring day

The birds may be singing “spring” but it is still cool out there. Cold means hearty foods to combat the chill. Thanks to Foodland Ontario, these robust stews may say, “We are winter warmers but really, spring is around the corner!”

Slow cooker beef goulash

Prepare this the night before and magically, when you return home from work, the goulash is ready, all but the noodles which may be added to the slow cooker once you get home. Please note: Conventional stew method is at the end of the recipe.

1/4 cup (60 mL) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt and freshly ground pepper
2 lbs (1 Kg) stewing beef cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
16 oz/450 g button mushrooms, halved
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) paprika (preferably Hungarian)
1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
1 can (5.5 oz/156 mL) tomato paste
4 cups (1 L) sodium-reduced beef broth
4 carrots, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
4 cups (1 L) extra broad egg noodles
1/4 cup (60 mL) minced fresh parsley

In heavy plastic bag, combine flour, salt and pepper. In batches, add beef to bag and shake to coat. Discard any excess flour mixture. In large non-stick skillet, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat. Cook beef in batches, stirring, until evenly browned about five minutes per batch. Using slotted spoon, transfer beef to slow cooker.

Add remaining oil to skillet. Add onions, mushrooms, garlic, and paprika. Cook, stirring, until mushrooms are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and broth; bring to boil, stirring until smooth. Transfer to slow cooker.

Add carrots, stirring to coat. Cover and cook on low for four to six hours, or until bubbling.

Stir in egg noodles and cover with liquid. Cover and cook for 15 minutes on high or until noodles are tender. Stir in parsley.

Conventional stew method:

For a conventional stew, stir in carrots and transfer to an oven-proof casserole dish. Cover and bake in a pre-heated 350˚F (180˚C) oven two to 2½ hours, or until meat is tender. Do not add noodles to the stew. Rather, cook separately according to package directions and serve with stew.

Chicken & vegetable stew with barley

Pot barley versus pearl barley – what’s the difference? Pot parley has been polished to remove its outer hull, but a large amount of the remaining grain is left intact, making it more nutrient-dense than pearl barley.

If you have a choice buying these in the supermarket, go for the more nutritious pot barley.

6 slices bacon, chopped into ½ inch (1.2 cm) pieces
1 pkg (2 lb/1 kg) boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
2 leeks, white and light green part thinly sliced
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh thyme and grated lemon rind
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each, salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 each, carrots and parsnips cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces
2 cups (500 mL) salt-reduced chicken broth
1 tbsp (15 mL) each, Dijon mustard and fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 mL) fresh chopped parsley

In large Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat, stirring until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to plate, leaving fat in pot. Add chicken, cook over medium-high heat, stirring until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to plate. Add leeks, onions, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper; cook over medium heat, stirring until softened about three minutes. Add carrots and parsnips; cook about four minutes.

Add broth and mustard, stirring to combine; bring to boil. Nestle chicken and bacon into mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley.

Meanwhile cook barley according to package directions in chicken stock until tender, about 30 to 35 minutes. Serve with chicken and vegetables.


Jan Main is an author, cooking instructor and caterer  ~

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The slow cooker beef goulash mentions adding onions. What onions? There are no onions in the list of ingredients.

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