Want To Beat Winter’s Deep Freeze? Try these Two Easy, Hearty (and Heart-Warming!) Stews

Regardless of whether you prefer meat or fish, there is nothing quite like a steaming stew in the middle of the winter to make you feel all warm and cozy.  Serve theses stews to your family for dinner, after snowball fights, or to your guests to shake off the deep chill…perfect for this weekend’s arctic weather forecast.

Here are two of my favorites.  They are both easy, quick, and will warm the tummies of your guests. Both children and adults love them, making them the perfect dishes for satisfying the picky palates of kids as well as even the most discerning “foodie” adult guests.

Red Wine Beef Stew

Ingredients

4 lbs ground chuck roast, cut into 2-inch pieces

1½ tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3T flour

1T olive oil

¼ cup tomato paste

2 cups dry red wine, such as Syrah or Pinot Noir

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 medium yellow onion, quartered

2 bay leaves

4 sprigs thyme

10 medium carrots (about 2 pounds) peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces

1½ lbs baby white or red potatoes, halved

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325. Season the meat with salt and pepper, place in a large bowl, and toss with flour.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or wide-bottomed pot with tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat.  Cook the meat, in batches, until well browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes, transferring the pieces to a plate as they are browned.  Pour off and discard any drippings from the pot.

Add tomato paste, wine, broth, onion, bay leaves, thyme, and 2 of the carrots and bring to a boil.  Return the meat and any juices back to pot (the meat should barely submerged in liquid), cover, and transfer to the oven.  Cook for 2 hours.

Using tongs, remove and discard the cooked vegetables.  Add the potatoes and the remaining 8 carrots to the pot. Cover, and return to oven.  Cook until the meat and vegetables are fork-tender, about 1 hour. Serves 8

Cook’s Tip: Beef Stew always tasted better the day after it is made. Let the stew cool to room temperature before refrigerating.  Before reheating, skim any visible fat from the surface and cook, covered, over medium-low heat on the stovetop, stirring occasionally, until heated through.  Freeze in airtight container for up to two months.

Mediterranean Fish Soup

Mussels, halibut, and shrimp flavored with chicken broth and white wine makes an outstanding fish soup that is ready from start in only 30 minutes.

Ingredients

2T olive oil

1 large sweet onion, chopped, about 2 cups

¼ cup dry white wine

4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes

24 (8 ounces) sliced mussels, scrubbed and beards removed

1 lb firm white fish fillets (cod, haddock, or halibut), cut into 1-inch pieces

½ lb fresh or thawed frozen large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Shredded fresh basil leaves

Preparation

Heat the oil in a 6-quart saucepot over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until tender.

Add the wine and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in broth and tomatoes and heat to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low.  Add mussels, fish, and shrimp.  Cover and cook until the mussels open, the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, and the shrimp are cooked through.  Discard any mussels that do not open.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with basil.

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