In fashion they say that jewel tones are universal colors—meaning everyone looks good in them. Perhaps that is why I am so drawn to them even in the context of food. Colors so rich and vibrant look appealing in any season, but I think most especially in winter. Not only is this stew warm and comforting, but it is chock-full of nutritional benefits and the ingredients are in-season.
This is a meal for a slow, relaxed day at home; plenty of time to prep vegetables and plenty of time for slow braising in the oven.
Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. Conquer by planning or “mise en place” as the French say. Wash, peel and chop your vegetables in stages. Group them together in the same way they will be added in the recipe. The sheer volume of vegetables in this recipe is incredible!
What I love about this recipe is that it is not your typical beef stew. It has a unique flavor and color, brought about by the lemon juice and beets, as well as a nutrient rich broth full of pureed swiss chard.
Nourishing Winter Stew
- 3 lbs boneless chuck roast or 3 3/4 lbs short ribs/bone-in chuck roast
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 2 stalks celery chopped, plus 1 cup chopped celery leaves
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 bunch Swiss chard leaves chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 5 scallions roughly chopped
- 1 1/4 pounds beets peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 pound carrots peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 pound sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon sugar for Paleo diet, omit or use coconut sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. If using chuck roast, cube roast into bite size (1 inch) pieces. If using short ribs, leave whole. Trim any large pieces of fat. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat in batches and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the meat to a plate.
Add the onions, garlic, chopped celery stalks and paprika and a suitable pinch of salt to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it starts to brown, about 4 minutes. Add 6 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Return the meat to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, puree the chopped chard, lemon juice, scallions, celery leaves, 1 1/2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt in a blender until smooth. Remove the pot from the oven; stir in the chard puree, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes and sugar. Return the pot to the oven and cook, uncovered, until the meat and vegetables are tender but hold their shape, 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours. Remove bones (if any); skim the fat off the sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the meat, vegetables and sauce into shallow bowls.
(Adapted from Food Network)