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Beef & Bowtie Stew

Ok, so I admit this isn’t a very summery meal, but just today I had the bright idea that I could create a vegetarian stew and a kid friendly beef stew at the same time. Once I had the idea, I couldn’t wait to try it!  Let me explain why this even matters… Those who follow already know that my husband is a vegetarian. Usually when making things like stew, I have to make an entirely different meal for him. Ugh. So much more work!  Today a light bulb went off — I thought I would try to stew the vegetables separate from the meat and just combine them in the end. Sure, it’s not the same as when it all stews together, but I’m not running a Michelin rated restaurant here. This technique totally worked and my husband was as pleased with his meatless meal as we were with ours. FYI: This technique also cuts down on the total stewing time because the two are stewing simultaneously, side by side.

Now for the kid friendly part: I added bowtie pasta to the stew to make it more kid friendly. It turned out to be a very good decision. My kid’s love of bowtie pasta motivated him to try the stew even though it looked and smelled unfamiliar to him. Now for the recipe…

Beef & Bowtie Stew Recipe

Prep Time: 15 mins  Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hours

1 pound chuck beef stew meat (cut into 1 inch cubes)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup onions (finely chopped)
3 carrots (peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
2 yukon gold potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
1 cup water
1 packet concentrated vegetable stock
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup warm water
salt & fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 cup dry small bowtie pasta

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown meat in oil; working in batches if necessary so that you don’t overcrowd the pan. Brown each side of the beef then add beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, garlic clove, 1 bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours. Check a few times to make sure there is still liquid in the pot, if not add a bit of water.

Meanwhile, peel and chop vegetables.  In a large (separate) pot saute onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until translucent. Crush the remaining garlic clove and saute with onions for another minute. Add canned tomatoes, water, concentrated vegetable stock, carrots, potatoes and 1 bay leaf. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat, cover and let simmer for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

When vegetables are almost ready, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook bowtie pasta for 7 or 8 minutes. (Should be al dente.) Drain and set aside.

Whisk flour with 1/4 cup of warm water until it forms a thickening paste. Remove bay leaf from vegetables and stir in paste until it begins to thicken. Add cooked bowties to vegetables and stir to combine. (This is the point at which I scooped out my husband’s vegetarian friendly serving!) Once beef is done, remove bay leaf and garlic clove from beef and combine veggies and beef (with juices) in one pot.  Serves 4.

Note: If you want to do this all in one pot, you can!  Cook the meat as directed for 1 1/2 hours, then add canned tomatoes, water, concentrated vegetable stock, carrots, potatoes and 1 bay leaf.  Let simmer for an additional 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Thicken with the flour / water combo and stir in pasta at the last minute.

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