Happy Winter Day my friends
I figured I would post a lovely winter scene to make up for the lack of winter we are currently having in Utah. I mean, it's RAINED the last couple days. RAIN....not snow. Very depressing. That being said, one of my little families favorite meals in the winter is warm and satisfying soups. Apple Cider Beef stew is one of our tummies favorites. It has a tangy twist on an old classic. Another great thing is that you can either cook it up quickly on the stovetop or plop it all in a slow cooker.
For the apple cider, you will want to use spiced and opaque cider. The clear Tree Top version will not do and the taste will be a bit funky. If cider is out of season, head over to your local health food store and look for Knudsen brand apple cider. Its good stuff and can be found year round. Litehouse brand is also perfect for this stew and can be found in most grocery stores near the salad section. I like to freeze the extra in pre-measured servings.
Now this recipe ALSO calls for celery, but my kitchen was lacking the green stalked vegetable so I improvised and used 1 cup of chopped cabbage instead.
Start out with 1 tablespoon brown rice flour and 2 tablespoons sweet rice flour (you CAN use tapioca flour instead of the sweet rice. Both will thicken the stew just fine). Then add 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon garlic powder in a gallon bag. Toss it around to incorporate the ingredients then throw in 1lb of beef stew meat.
Toss and roll the beef in the mixture until each piece of meat is covered. Then warm up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large kettle. Once oil is warm and starts to ripple, dump the entire contents of the bag in. Lower heat to medium and quickly brown the beef (for about 5-10 minutes). Once beef is nicely browned on all sides, it is time to make a choice. Either throw it in a slow cooker, or keep it in the kettle. Today I chose the slow cooker. I had a few things to do and it was nice to be able to leave my home and come back to a yummy cooked dinner. Sooooo throw the cooked meat in your slow cooker like sooooo.... (like you needed to see what meat in a slow cooker looked like, but I was having fun taking pictures hehehe).
Speaking of pictures....I just LOVE my spoon rest :) I got it for my shower from my Grandma Reva. She is a yard sale shopping professional. That woman has it down to a science! I am sure it was one of her "finds" and I am SO glad she found it. It's too cute not to share.
Now, add 2 cups apple cider (don't forget to shake it up), 1-2 cups water (depending on how soupy you like your stew) and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (rice vinegar also works well with this recipe). The vinegar is a natural meat tenderizer along with the cider (that is why you can get away with tender beef chunks by cooking it for a short time on the stovetop). Turn the slow cooker on medium and start chopping your vegetables. I like to use 1/4 of a red onion, carrots, red potatoes (or any potato for that matter), and celery. All of your chopped veggies should all measure to about 2 1/2 cups total.
I will say, the cabbage actually was pretty good in the stew. I do prefer the taste of celery in this dish, but I had to improvise and I had plenty of cabbage on hand. So I thought, what the heck?
Next stir in your veggies, cover your slow cooker, and cook on medium for 5 hours. If you are cooking on the stove top, bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are tender.
And that's really all there is too it. This is a sweet, tangy, satisfying stew to warm you up on those winter nights. Did I mention how easy it is too?
Here is the recipe breakdown:
Apple Cider Beef Stew
1 lb beef stew meat
1 tablespoon brown rice flour
2 tablespoons sweet rice flour or tapioca flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups opaque spiced apple cider
1-2 cups water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups of diced vegetables (red onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes) Or cabbage if you are in a pinch and have no celery lol!
Toss stew meat, flours, salt, garlic powder, and thyme in gallon size ziploc bag until meat is completely coated. Meanwhile warm olive oil in a large kettle until oil becomes rippled. Lower heat to medium and brown meat on all sides. Transfer meat into a slow cooker heated to medium and add water, cider, and vinegar. Stir in diced vegetables, cover, and cook for 5 hours.
That's all there is to it!