When it’s cold out and all you want is something to warm your belly – beef stew is the answer to your prayers. This is my version of the Pioneer Woman’s beef stew.

For the Stew:

3 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. flour (all-purpose)

1 tbsp. butter

2 lb. beef stew meat – don’t buy pre-cut – cut the beef yourself against the grain)

Salt and pepper (white pepper for mashed potatoes)

Two stalks of celery, diced

1 whole medium onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 oz. tomato paste

4 c. low sodium beef stock or broth, more if needed for thinning

Several dashes Worcestershire

1/2 tsp. sugar

4 whole carrots, peeled and diced

2 whole turnips, peeled and diced

1 bag of baby spinach – roughly chopped

2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 225 degrees

I recommend cooking in a Dutch oven. Salt and pepper meat. Toss meat with flour. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add butter, and as soon as it melts, brown half the stew meat until the outside gets nice and brown, about 2 minutes. Remove the meat from the pot with a slotted spoon and put it on a plate. Add the rest of the meat to the pot and brown it, too. Remove it to the same plate. Set the meat aside.

Add the onion and celery to the pot, stirring it to coat it in all the brown bits in the bottom of the pot. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Then add the tomato paste to the pot. Mix in with all the yummies in the pot and let it cook for 2 more minutes.

Pour in the beef stock, stirring constantly. Add the Worcestershire and sugar. Add the beef back to the pot, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours. (I like to stick the Dutch oven with the top on in a 225-degree oven and let it cook slowly for 2 hours – but you can keep it on the stovetop if that’s your preference.)

After 1 1/2 to 2 hours, add the diced turnips, carrots, and chopped spinach to the pot. Stir to combine, put the lid back on the pot, and put back in the oven or let it simmer for another 30 minutes on stovetop. The sauce should be very thick, but if it seems overly so, splash in some beef broth until it thins it up enough. Feel free to add beef broth as needed!

When the carrots and turnips are tender, stir in minced parsley. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve piping hot in a bowl with mashed potatoes, letting the juice run all over everything. Sprinkle with extra minced parsley at the end.

My simple but tasty mashed potato recipe (Don’t make until 25 minutes before serving the beef stew!)

5 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters

4-6 tbsp of butter

1/2 c. heavy cream

A dash of regular milk if needed

Onion peels and two cloves are garlic uncut!

Salt and *white pepper, to taste

White pepper adds such a special flavor to the potatoes

Cut the potatoes into quarters and cover with water in a large pot. Add onion peels and uncut garlic to the mix. I know it’s strange, but the onion and garlic add tons of flavor to your mashed potatoes. Boil until potatoes are fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and remove onion and garlic. Add butter to the same pot that you boiled the potatoes and when it’s melted, add the potatoes, and with low heat mash the potatoes for 2 to 3 minutes to release as much steam as possible.

Turn off heat, add cream, salt, and white pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. This is where you add extra milk if it’s too thick.

Katie Baldwin has a secret life. During the day she is a mild-mannered researcher at a prestigious University. By night she writes fantastical tales of romance and mystery. When she is not pacing her home working out dialogue in her mind, she is baking scones and working out dialogue in her mind. Aside from writing, she has a ferocious passion for the Green Bay Packers, Nutella, and her MinPin/Chihuahua mix dog/baby, Marley. She can be found on twitter waxing eloquently about all of her passions. Go Pack Go! Twitter @katiebwrites https://www.facebook.com/katie.baldwin.372661

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