4 stew recipes perfect for winter's last hurrah

Veal and veggie stew (Ontario Veal Appeal)

Veal and veggie stew (Ontario Veal Appeal)

Rita DeMontis, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 3:28 PM ET

Get the feeling winter's here forever? It certainly has its angry claws in all of us - and I, for one, have had enough. If there's any season that calls for comforting dishes, it's now, when we know spring is in the distance but winter won't let us go. What we need is a good, rich stew with chunks of crusty bread on the side. Here's a selection of delicious and delightful stews that are just the antidote we need — trust me, spring is on its way.

Veal and Root Vegetable Stew

This simple stew is bursting with the sweet flavour of root vegetables. The late addition of the carrots, parsnips and turnips allows them to retain their fresh flavour and form. Serve with crusty whole grain bread and a glass of your favourite red wine. Recipe courtesy of Ontario Veal (ontariovealappeal.ca).

  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. (5ml) each salt and fresh cracked pepper, divided
  • 1 lb. (500g) stewing veal
  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) olive oil
  • 2 cups (500ml) chopped onion
  • 1 cup (250ml) chopped celery
  • 1 cup (250ml) chopped leeks
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 cup (250ml) dry red wine
  • 2 cups (500ml) chicken broth
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 parsnips, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup (250ml) turnip, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 325F (160C). In bowl or re-sealable bag, toss flour and half of salt and pepper with veal until completely coated.

In large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown veal on all sides, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer veal to plate. Stir in onion, celery and leeks, cooking until vegetables are tender and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, remaining salt and pepper, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. Deglaze pan with wine, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in broth and return veal to pan. Bring to simmer.

Cover and transfer to oven for one hour. Add carrots, parsnips and turnip, stirring to combine. Cover and return to oven until vegetables are tender and veal is fork tender, about 1 hour. Serve with a green salad and crusty whole grain bread to soak up the yummy sauce. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Basque Chicken Stew

Serve this vibrant red stew with mashed potatoes and crusty bread to soak up the rich sauce. Recipe courtesy of Foodland Ontario (foodland.gov.on.ca).

  • 2 greenhouse tomatoes
  • 1 lb. (500 g) boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) finely diced Serrano ham (Spanish cured ham) or prosciutto (about 1-1/2 oz/50 g)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) each salt and smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) pepper

Cut tomatoes in half crosswise; gently squeeze out seeds and chop. Trim off any excess fat from chicken thighs; cut each thigh in half. In Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) of oil over medium heat; cook chicken, in batches, until lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Add remaining oil to pan; cook onion and red pepper until softened, about 3 minutes. Add ham, garlic, salt, paprika and pepper; cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes. Nestle chicken in sauce and bring to simmer; cover and simmer until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 15 minutes.

TIP : For a thicker sauce, combine 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) each cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Stir into stew at the end, bring to boil and cook until thickened. Serves 4.

 

Lamb and Guinness Irish Stew

Pot luck of the Irish with this delicious dish courtesy of Quinn's Steak house and Irish bar.

  • 2 lbs. (907g) lamb shoulder
  • 3 Tbsp. (45ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) flour
  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) tomato puree (dissolved in 4 Tbsp./60ml water)
  • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) Guinness stout beer
  • 2 cups (500ml) carrots, cut into chunks
  • Sprig of thyme salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Trim lamb of any fat or gristle, cut into cubes of 2 inches (5 cm) and toss in a bowl with 1 Tbsp (15ml) of oil. Season flour with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch or two of cayenne. Toss meat in mixture.

Heat remaining oil in a wide frying pan over high heat. Brown meat on all sides. Add onions, crushed garlic and tomato puree to pan, cover and cook gently for about 5 minutes.

Transfer contents of pan to a casserole dish, and pour some of Guinness beer into the frying pan. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve caramelized meat juices on pan. Pour mixture and remaining Guinness onto meat; add carrots and thyme. Stir, and add salt to taste. Cover casserole dish and simmer very gently until the meat is tender, 2 to 3 hours. Stew may be cooked on stove-top or in a low oven at 300F (275C). Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Scatter with chopped parsley. Serves 6-8.

Ratatouille with Toasted Chickpeas

Vegetarian stews are easy to make and perfect for leftovers. Here's a wonderful version courtesy of cookbook author and TV food star Christine Cushing (christinecushing.com).

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced 1/2-inch (1.2 cm) thick
  • 6 vine ripened tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut in half
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut in half
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2-inch (1.2 cm) thick
  • 1 small onion, sliced 1/2-inch (1.2 cm) thick
  • 1 small head fennel, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) wedges
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped pancetta
  • 1 1/4 cup (300 ml) canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Pinch each: Turmeric, cayenne pepper, paprika and cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp. (45 ml) chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) chickpeas for garnish

Preheat grill. In large bowl, mix olive oil, rosemary, garlic and salt. Add eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, onion, and fennel and toss. Grill vegetables for about 4 minutes per side or until cooked through. Alternately, grill vegetables in 350F (180C) oven until cooked through. Roughly chop vegetables and set aside.

In a large saute pan heat 2 Tbsp. (30ml) olive oil over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook for about 4 minutes until crisp. Remove pancetta from saute pan and add to grilled vegetables. Increase heat to medium high. Add 1 1/4 (300 ml) cups chickpeas, turmeric, cayenne pepper, paprika, and cinnamon to saute pan. Toss for about 3 minutes until chickpeas are golden and crisp. Add grilled vegetables to pan and cook for about 3 minutes. Toss in fresh herbs. Adjust seasoning. Garnish with chickpeas.

Serves 4.


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