Sunday, May 4, 2014

Beef Stew with Kale and Sweet Potatoes

     Kale is awesome. It has become my go to green for just about anything. If a recipe calls for chard, I'm using kale. If it calls for spinach, I'm using kale. If it calls for kale, I'm using twice as much kale. To me kale is really good in soups and stews. Especially this stew I found over at Culinary Hill. I had done a random search for beef, sweet potatoes and kale and this was the first thing I found that didn't look entirely too complicated or disgusting. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but this is some damned good stew. I toyed about with the recipe and for fun made some ersatz dumplings out of egg roll wrappers. This is a definite winner and you'd be a total weenie for not giving it a try. As always, notes and changes are in blue.

Beef Stew with Kale and Sweet Potatoes
via Culinary Hill
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, chopped into ½” pieces (I used 2 pounds of ground beef, cooked and drained)
  • 1 – 32 oz. container reduced-sodium beef broth (no beef broth on hand, I went with 32 ounces of water and a beef bouillon cube) 
  • 1 – 12 oz. bag of frozen pearl onions (nope. That's not something I keep in the house. I went with a medium yellow onion, chopped)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium sweet potato (about 8 oz.), peeled and sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary (I used a sprig of dried I had saved from the garden)
  • 1 c. frozen peas
  • 1 large kale leaf, stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces (this seems a bit vague. Really? Just one big-ass kale leaf? We used about a half a pound, spines removed)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (nope again. There's sodium in the bouillon and the other spices I'm about to use)
  • 2 teaspoons Old World Central Street seasoning from The Spice House. (If you don't have access to this spice, it contains: Hungarian sweet paprika, ground celery seed, garlic, sugar, black pepper, onion, ground dill seed, ground fenugreek seed, ground caraway seed, turmeric, green onions, dill weed, powdered bay leaves, cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, fennel, nutmeg, white pepper, basil, chervil, marjoram, parsley, savory, tarragon, thyme, rosemary, cloves, cardamom and Kosher flake salt)
  • 1 pack of egg roll wrappers, wadded up and roughly chopped. Don't look at me like that. Just do it. You'll thank me when it's over.
  1. In a large sauce pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering We went with the Dutch oven. I also would like to confess that I have never actually witnessed oil shimmering, regardless of the temperature I put it on. Just saying). Add beef and cook until browned on all sides, stirring periodically (as mentioned, I used ground beef and made sure it was browned and well drained).
  2. Add broth, onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, bay leaf, and rosemary (and the egg roll wrappers. Seriously. I'm totally not kidding. Throw them in the pot). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes or until beef is tender and sweet potatoes have broken down.
  3. Remove cover and simmer an additional 15 minutes uncovered, stirring periodically, until broth has reduced slightly and thickened (and this will thicken up nicely. Just be patient. This stew gets a wonderful consistency).
  4. Remove bay leaf and rosemary stem, leaving any rosemary leaves that have become detached from the stem (don't forget my mother's warning! Unattended bay leaves are a death sentence. You leave that leaf in there, somebody is going to choke to death right at the table. Guaranteed). Stir in peas and kale and simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes more.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper (didn't need it since I used a spice mix).
Good times!

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