Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt is about last meals. (Yawn, I’m so not impressed with these topics so far.)

It’s always been hard for me to separate food from seasons. Right now, all I want is apples, pumpkins, roasts, stews, and lots of savory spices. If you’d asked me 3 months ago about my favorite foods I’d have told you about tomatoes, tacos, seafood, cilantro and fruits.

In the past week I’ve made Apple Cakes from Debra at Smith Bites, though I made then in cupcake tins because I don’t do bundt cakes. (fill cupcake tins 3/4 full, bake for 18-20 minutes) I made a hearty beef stew with fresh crusty bread. Last night I made a variation on Wendi’s Cider Roasted Pork, which was only a variation because I forgot some essential steps. Still, it was fantastic. (If you accidentally marinate in just plain apple cider, rather than a brine, simply put salt, pepper, coriander, dried sage, and fresh rosemary on top of the pork before roasting. It might not be right, but it’s really tasty regardless.) I served it with Ina Garten’s Cranberry Sauce, which I had made for Thanksgiving last year and totally fell in love with.

We had a snowstorm a few days ago, which is really unusual for October in Pennsylvania. I had a fridge full of takeout Chinese leftovers from my father’s going away party, so I couldn’t make a warm stew. But if I could have, I would have. I was eating refried fried rice and Kung Pao Chicken, when I’d rather have been eating this:

Simple Hearty Slow Cooker Beef Stew

3 pound chuck roast
6 cups beef broth
2 large carrots
4 stalks celery
1 large onion
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprig rosemary
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup corn starch

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. Cut your roast into bite sized cubes and brown in batches. Place the browned meat in your slow cooker. Chop your mire poix and add that to the cooker as well. Take the thyme leaves off of the stem, and chop your rosemary. Into the slow cooker, along with the beef broth. Add a bunch of pepper. Give it a good stir, and turn it on low for 8 hours. If you’re in a rush you can go high for 3 hours and low for 3 hours, but your vegetables will lose some flavor and texture.

Mix some water into your cornstarch until it’s thin and pourable. Slowly pour that into your stew while stirring. Salt to taste. Serve with a good crusty bread. If you like your stew very thick, simply use more cornstarch.

This recipe is a good autumn/winter standby. It’s also great for busy moms. I can throw this together in less than 20 minutes in the morning, and it’s ready for dinner. I’ve even let it go 10 or 11 hours and it’s still just as good. It’s the best kind of comfort food, the kind that takes practically no work.

Tagged on: