This time of year is kind of a bummer for me. The days are short, it's cold and dreary. The holidays have passed and football is done for the season (for my Green Bay Packers at least). There's just a dismal vibe going on. Still a long way out from the promise of Spring, cooped up in the house with a serious case of cabin fever... it seems like the perfect time for comfort food that cooks all day long and entices us to gather around the table for some delicious warmth after a long, chilly day at work and school.
These are the meals I think we remember the most. More than the grand spread of the holidays and other celebrations. The meals shared quietly with loved ones around the table on a cold night night after a tiring day. Soothing, soul satisfying meals that are simple but seem to wrap us in a warm hug. Sometimes the promise of a delicious meal when the day is over is all one needs to soldier on. There is nothing quite like walking through the door and being met with the scent of a home cooked meal that you know was simmering away all day, awaiting your arrival. Made with love and care, just for you to enjoy. Sitting down, surrounded by people that love you while you finally exhale and unwind. Could there be any more perfect way to welcome the end of the day? Mmm, I don't think so.
This stew is that perfection for my family. Rich, tender and flavorful beef and vegetables smothered in a delicious sauce and ladled over the most amazing mashed potatoes. It is the epitome of comfort, love and "welcome home" in a bowl.
Guinness Beef Stew over Mashed Potatoes
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*2 1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
*2 tablespoons AP flour
*2 cups Guinness Extra Stout
*6 ounces tomato paste
*3 medium onions, large dice
*4 cloves garlic, minced
*2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
*1 pound rutabaga, cut into 1-inch pieces
*1 pound baby carrots
*2 parsnips cut into 1-inch pieces
*1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
*Mashed potatoes for service (I suggest the recipe here: Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes )
1: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the beef with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook beef, turning occasionally, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes; transfer to a plate and sprinkle with flour.
2: In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, whisk together beer, tomato paste, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add onions, garlic, thyme, and beef and any juices, and toss to combine. Scatter rutabaga, carrots and parsnips on top. Cook, covered, until beef and vegetables are tender and sauce has thickened, 7 to 8 hours on low or 5 to 6 hours on high. Mix in parsley and serve over mashed potatoes.