I was supposed to post this last night, but my blogging was interrupted by my youngest having a full-blown asthma attack which required a visit to the ER. A dose of prednisone and 4 inhalo treatments and we were sent on our merry way. Before the kiddo’s breathing got worrisome, I’d made a delicious batch of beef stew. I inspired myself with a recipe from the Looneyspoons cookbook and although I ate way too quickly as I was trying to deal with the baby, I was quite pleased with the results.

Slow-simmered Beef Stew
2 pounds stewing beef cut into 1 to 1½ inch cubes)
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped celery
2 teaspoons minced garlic
A few pinches each of basil, rosemary, thyme, sage and marjoram
2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large thin-skinned potato (such as Yukon Gold), unpeeled, cut into ¾-inch pieces
1 large carrot, chopped
1 small sweet potato, peeled, cut into ¾-inch pieces
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup frozen green peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Pat beef dry with paper towels. Sprinkle beef lightly all over with seasoned salt. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pot (preferably non-stick) over high heat. Add half the beef cubes and cook, turning occasionally, until all sides are lightly browned. Remove from pot and keep warm. Repeat with remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and beef cubes. Set browned beef aside.

Add onions, celery, and garlic to same pot (you may add a bit more olive oil or ¼ cup beef broth to pot if necessary to prevent sticking). Reduce heat to medium. Cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Return beef cubes to pot and stir in herbs de Provence. Add beef broth, tomato paste, vinegar, bay leaves, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour, 15 minutes. (Make sure it is a low simmer and that mixture is not boiling or it will burn.)

Stir in white potatoes and carrots. Cover and simmer for 25 more minutes. Stir in sweet potatoes and simmer for 20 to 25 more minutes, until vegetables are tender. Mix cornstarch with 2 tbsp water until smooth. Add to stew. Mix well and continue to cook until stew is bubbly and has thickened. Stir in peas and parsley and cook just until peas are heated through, about 2 minutes.


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