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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Parsnips & Beef Stew

Stews are the perfect winter comfort food. Much like soups and chowders, there is a basic method to making stews but the ingredients can vary greatly. Stews generally use a cheaper cut of meat so stewing over long, slow heat in a liquid is meant to tenderize the meat. The addition of vegetables adds flavour, colour, nutrition turning and thickening the liquid to form a gravy makes for a comforting, budget stretching meal. I previously posted recipes for beef stew, crockpot chicken stew, and French Canadian braised beef so today will present another beef stew that has a bit of a different flavour due to including parsnips as an ingredient.

parsnips and carrotsParsnips

Parsnips are a root vegetable that is often overlooked by many home cooks. While the resemble carrots they have a creamy white flesh and a stronger flavour than carrots. Parsnips can be cooked in many of the same ways as carrots but unlike carrots they are seldom eaten raw. They are richer in vitamins and minerals than carrots. Parsnips are rich in potassium with 600 mg per 100 g and a good source of dietary fiber.

Parsnips in particular is an ideal ingredient when making soups, stews and stocks. They add a depth and roundness in flavour.

beef stewBeef Stew

As with all of the stews I make this beef stew made use of what I had on hand. The end result was a lovely, chunky stew packed full of flavour and nutrition. I like browning meat before using it for stew as this adds more flavour. Once the meat was browned I put it into the crockpot then added carrots, parsnips, onions, bayleaf, potatoes and stock. When the potatoes were fork tender I added the corn and flour slurry to thicken continuing to cook for about 20 minutes. I added the frozen peas last letting them cook just enough to brighten. Pea are one of those vegetables that are best put into soups or stews last as they can easily over cook.

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