Seasonal cooking: Winter

I don’t know about you but winter is one of my favourite times to cook. You can make Sunday roast anything with roasted veggies and gravy, hearty stews, pot pies, and almost any comfort food you can imagine. I love spending a snowy afternoon in the kitchen in the winter, the smell of something amazing in the oven, seeing the snow falling outside and being nice and toasty by the stove just makes me feel so happy. I also love how the smell of hearty winter cooking brings people in to the kitchen to see what is being made, whether it’s an amazing stew, a roasting chicken or simply a squash roasting, everyone wants to know what that amazing smell is.
This is one of our favourite stews, we never have any leftovers. Sometimes we make this with dumplings on really cold nights.
1 lb good stewing beef, preferably organic free run but anything will work.
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 or 2 carrots
1 or 2 parsnips
2 potatoes
1 or 2 celery stalks if you want
2 medium tins of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
2 bay leaves
olive oil
dried oregano
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a pot or deep frying pan. Chop the onion and put it in the pot when the oil is hot, cook them just until they begin to get soft. Mince the garlic and add it when the onions are soft. Roughly chop the carrots, parsnip, and celery and throw them into the pot.
When the carrots are just starting to get soft add your stewing beef. Make sure you pat away any moisture from the meat or it will not brown. Make sure all the sides of the beef are browned before adding any liquid.
Once the meat is browned add the tomatoes and red wine. Chop the potatoes into small just slightly bigger than bite sized pieces and add them to the stew making sure they are submerged. Leave the bay leaves whole and submerge them in the stew. Add the sea salt, pepper and dried oregano to taste. Let simmer for 30 to 45 minutes remove the bay leaves and enjoy.
Winter cook books:
Roast figs, sugar snow: Winter food to warm the soul by Diana Henry
Delia Smith’s winter collection: comfort food DVD
Stonewall Kitchen winter celebrations: special recipes for family and friends by Jonathan King
Winter gatherings: casual food to enjoy with family and friends by Rick Rodgers
The ski house cookbook: warm winter dishes for cold weather fun by Tina Anderson
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