Friday, December 13

Cookie Cutter Stew

Do you like to play with your food? I am not talking about playing with mashed potatoes like my son used to do in high chair, making shapes & letters all while having a really good time. Not talking about flinging food across the table at your spouse either (although that seems appealing). Playing with food as in like getting creative with it. If you do, you'll love this recipe. While we are on this subject I admit I am HORRIBLE at crafts so if you happen to be in that same boat. Let me reassure you this is EASY and FUN. 

I heart this stew.... This blog has been a bit one sided lately (heavy on the soups, stews, and chili) but honestly that's I have wanted to eat & cook & thus blog. It's winter what can I say. I just returned from a trip back where I grew up in the northwest and it's really really c-o-l-d there! Which brings me to this warm, inviting, fun, playful, kid friendly, veggie laden, cookie cutter stew. I promise it is just as much fun to make as it is to eat! 

cooking time + prep time: about 2 hrs 15-20 minutes*
*time may seem daunting but make this on a saturday or sunday for an easy way for the whole family to spend time together. Everyone can make their own specific shapes. 
Most of it is hands off cooking.

Recipe is adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine April 2013
serves 4

2 cloves of garlic, crushed & rough chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
just over 1 lb. beef chuck cubes
1 onion, rough chopped
4 carrots, cleaned & rough chopped (peel it if you want to)
3 parsnips, cleaned &rough chopped (peel it if you want to)
1 cup of water
1/2 Tbs olive oil
1 cups of beef broth
1 Tbs tomato paste
3 Tbs flour, whole wheat white plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 sheet of thawed puffed pastry
1 1/2 cup of frozen peas (eyeball it - one small package)

1. In a dutch heat the olive oil over medium heat. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 

2. Pat the meat dry, sear the meat on each side using tongs or a spatula - about 3-5 minutes

3. Set the beef aside on a plate.

4. Add the onions to the dutch oven and saute for about 4 minutes until they are soft.  Add in the garlic and cook one more minute - stir

5. Add the flour to the dutch oven and let it start to cook out... stir. Mixture will be dry. Let it cook for one minute before adding the broth and the tomato paste (in that order). 

6. Dump the meat into the dutch oven including any meat juices that may have gathered on the plate. Add salt and pepper. 

7. Cover and bake in the oven for 1 hr & 45 minutes.  

8. Add in the carrots and parsnips. Cover and return to the oven until they are soft about 15 minutes. 

9. When the stew is finished in the oven let it rest on top of the stove while the cookie cutter shapes bake. 

10. Making cookie cutter shapes: When stew is almost finished put some flour down on a clean smooth kitchen surface such as a cutting board or counter. Increase the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Unwrap the tri-folded puff pastry and start making whatever shapes makes you smile. Put the shapes directly on the parchment paper. 

*Note: wait until you are ready to make any cookie cutter shapes before taking it out of the plastic and letting it sit in the air. The softer it gets/the more time unwrapped, the harder it will be to move it. Bake this for 15 minutes or so until they are golden and puffed. 

11. Stir the frozen peas into the stew. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve and top each stew with a few cookie cutter shapes. The frozen peas will cool the soup slightly, the hot stew will warm the peas, and the peas will keep their lovely green color since they aren't being boiled to mush :)  Enjoy! 

Despite the season of cold - blessings of warmth to you in this dish
from my kitchen to yours

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