Sunday, December 4, 2016


The month of December is known for several religious holidays—Christmas, Hanukkah and Ramadan to name a few.  We do a lot of cooking and baking around the holidays. We also do a lot of eating.  What else is December known for?  It is Cookie Exchange week of the 4th to 8th.  It is National Tie Month so make sure you wear a tie at least once during the month.  National Hand Washing Awareness week is December 1-7th.  It is also Exotic Fruit and Root Vegetables Month.  I know you are scratching your head and asking ‘What is a Root Vegetable?’  A root vegetable is one that grows under ground and absorbs a great deal of nutrients from the soil.  Here are a few examples of root vegetables. There are yams, onions, garlic, beets, carrots, turnips, parsnips, radishes, artichokes, ginger and rutabagas.   Here is a recipe for Beef Stew with variations that include several root vegetables.  I hope you enjoy this!  It is in my new cookbook, Soups and Stews...Comfort by the Spoonful.  It will be available the end of November for $20.00.  I’ll have copies here at the house, so just email me at and let me know you’d like a copy. 


 Beef Stew (Basic)


2 pounds boneless chuck roast or stewing meat

3 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

3 yellow onions, cut into chunks

½ cup flour in a bowl

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup red wine (optional)*

3 cups beef broth

½ teaspoon dried rosemary (or fresh)

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon dried thyme (or fresh)

4 carrots, peeled, cut into 1 inch slices

2 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch slices

3 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered**

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Several sprigs fresh parsley for garnish


Put the meat cubes in the bowl with the flour and coat them.

In large pot, heat olive oil, add beef cubes and brown.

Add salt and pepper to meat.

Once meat cubes are browned, remove from pot with a

     slotted spoon and set aside.  Add onions and saute until


Reduce heat to low, add remaining flour, wire whisk it.

Add garlic and cook for several more minutes.

Add the wine and wire whisk the pan; get any little

      pieces stuck to the pot.  This will start to thicken.

Simmer for about 5 minutes, then add broth, bay leaf,

      thyme, rosemary, parsley and beef.

Cover and cook low for 1 hour. Remove bay leaf.

Add potatoes, carrots, celery.

Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

If  too thick, add a little beef broth. Add salt, pepper to taste.

Allow to set for about 15-20 minutes covered, then serve.

Serve with crusty bread.   Serves 6-8

Beef Stew © Connie Hope


              Beef Stew variations:


You can add some of these items or only one to the stew.  Your choice.


  • 1/3 cup barley
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 cup  peas
  • 1 cup  lima beans
  • 2 cups diced turnips
  • 2 cups parsnips
  • 2 cups rutabagas
  • 1 pound mushrooms, discard stems and slice thick
  • 1 pound portabella mushrooms, sliced thick
  • 1-2 cups chunked sweet potatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Omit the cup of red wine and substitute 1 can of beer and ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • Omit the ½ teaspoon rosemary and substitute ½ teaspoon marjoram
  • Put beef cubes in a low dish and pour some additional wine over it.  Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.





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