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Friday, February 18, 2011

Stew and biscuits

A hearty meal for a chilly Upper Canada winter's eve.  That's right, I'm up in Ottawa visiting my sister!  We had a hankering for a traditional winter meal and decided beef stew would be it.

Let's start with the biscuits.  In my opinion, if you're going to have stew you need to have some type of bread product to dip into it.  My usual olive oil biscuit recipe was home in a drawer, so a quick google of the interwebs led me to this recipe from a lovely food blog.

Olive Oil-Parmesan Biscuits


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
coarsely ground black pepper to taste
1 cup milk
5 tbsp good quality olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan (or other delicious firm cheese, e.g. cheddar)

Biscuit ingredients

[mmm, parmesan]

Biscuit ingredients

[Tidyowl's pretty vintage bowl]


Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a standard baking sheet. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper until homogeneous. Add in wet ingredients (milk, oil, cheese) and stir until dough is just combined with an even consistency throughout. Using a potato/ice-cream scooper or 1/4 cup measure, dole out ~12 biscuit mounds onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden on the bottom.


Now, on to the stew! Beef stew is a pretty easy recipe to tackle yourself. It seems like everyone has their own particular version, but the basic method is probably the same. My version is as follows:

Beef Stew


1-2 lbs stew beef, cubed
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
1-2 tbsp canola oil
2 medium onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 medium white potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 large carrots, peeled, halved and thickly sliced
4 celery stalks, halved and thickly sliced
1 can whole tomatoes, quartered (reserve juice)
4-6 cups beef bouillon (or more depending on desired volume/juiciness)
3 bay leaves
freshly ground black pepper to taste
salt, to taste


Heat oil in your soup/stew pot over medium-high heat. Dredge beef cubes in flour +/- black pepper if desired. Add beef to pot. Cook, turning occasionally until edges are browned and partially crispy. Transfer beef to a plate. (While going through the next steps, you can further cut up the beef into bite sized portions if required.) Add onions and garlic plus a splash of water or bouillon to deglaze the pot. Heat until onions are translucent. Add in tomatoes + desired amount of juice (I used about half of the leftover juice). Add beef bouillon. Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Add potato, carrot, bay leaves, black pepper and beef to the pot. Return to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover and reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20 min. Add celery. Simmer, covered, on low heat, for 10 min. Taste for saltiness and season if necessary (I find that the bouillon provides enough salt). If you find the vegetables too firm at this point, you can simmer for a longer amount of time. To thicken the liquid (if you so desire), slowly add two tbsp of flour into 3-4 tbsp of water, making a slurry.  Ensure there are no lumps or clumps in the slurry, then add to the stew liquid.  Simmer uncovered for several minutes. The stew is now ready to eat, although the taste will become richer and the beef more tender with further reheating.

Beef stew

As an afterthought, mushrooms wouldn't go astray in this stew either.  Do you have any tips for stew/biscuit making or any secret ingredients?  Leave a note in the comments. (I love it when you guys leave comments!)


Margie said...Best Blogger Tips

Looks delicious Laura, a perfect meal for a winter's day. Even better when you get to share it with family !

Sarah MacDonald said...Best Blogger Tips

Since you like comments so much...
My (mother's) stew recipe uses a can of tomato soup and a can of cream (of mushroom or celery) soup mixed with the stewing beef and whatever stew vegetables you like. Then everything goes into a roaster and away you go. No browning required, so it is very easy for a quick weekday meal.

Jon Fraser said...Best Blogger Tips

I want those biscuits!

Nat said...Best Blogger Tips

I've made it a couple of times lately with basically the above veggies plus parsnips, and a bit of Worcester sauce. I love the sweet flavour of the parsnips. Do you realize that the biscuit recipe you googled was the one I'd sent you ages ago? It's the one I use too... that blog is based in London!

Laura said...Best Blogger Tips


So funny! The one I referenced that was 'home in my drawer' is the one you gave me a few years ago!

Mmm, I think I would like parsnips as well, maybe turnips.

Margie said...Best Blogger Tips

My Dad always said that parsnips made a stew !

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