Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dark Days of Winter Week 3: Beef Stew

My all-local meal this week is my favorite winter time meal: beef stew.

Beef Stew (in a Crock Pot):
- about 2 pounds eye round (from the Lamb's Quarter, a local family-run farm, via my farmers' market)
- one bunch carrots (Dupont Circle farmers' market)
- 2 stalks celery (farmers' market)
- 1.5 pounds potatoes (farmers' market)
- 1 cup onion {roughly half a medium onion} (farmers' market)
- 2 cloves garlic (farmers' market)
- 2 tbsp vinegar (exception, added to the stew to help flavors absorb)
- 2 tbsp butter (exception, to sauté the veggies before adding to the stew; I use a dairy-free, soy-free butter)
- salt and pepper to taste (exceptions)
Fill slow cooker with water (about 32 ounces), and let it stew!

It was really basic--beef and vegetables went into a slow cooker in the morning and by then end of the day, the house smelled like beefy heaven. We had leftovers too, which we froze. I usually like to have rice or rolls with beef stew, but I excluded both of these ingredients for the local-food only meal. We also excluded any kind of broth, using water only, and the beef was so full of flavor that the stew didn't really need anything. Our bellies were warm and happy.

{I have since found a local bakery, Atwater Bakery, that makes bread using flour from family farms and organic, seasonal ingredients. Some flour sources were within the 150-mile radius for this Challenge, but some were further. If I absolutely need bread for a meal, I'll likely use theirs. This resource seems in keeping with the spirit of the Challenge though it may not conform strictly to the rules, and let's face reality, unless I want to give myself indigestion, I probably shouldn't bake anything. Can't wait to try it!}


  1. What a nice, easy recipe! You are very lucky to have all those wonderful foods available locally. Too bad you didn't find the bakery sooner. Nothing's better than stew with bread.

  2. Angela, great looking stew. Yes, we will be using some of the same sources.

    I got spelt bread at the Silver Spring fresh farm market Saturday and had it with my week 3 dark days meal. Haven't posted the pics yet but I hope to do it tomorrow.

    Atwater's says Small Valley Milling mills their whole wheat spelt from locally grown spelt, so I am using it as local. It is an acquired taste. Spelt bread is dense.

    Cheers, Annie

  3. The stew looks yummy. Your recent posts have inspired me to add more local foods into my diet.

  4. @katie--thank you! I agree, you gotta have bread with stew to soak up all that yummy broth.

    @AnnieRie--I've had spelt cupcakes before...youre right, it is an acquired taste :)

    @GirlSprout--oh thanks! It's fun to hunt out the local food sources. will list small farms in your area.

  5. This looks pretty tasty and I am all about my slow cooker. I could probably make something similar if I vary the ingredients a little.

    Thanks for your comments on my post! I feel a little more encouraged :) I have ideas for my next one or two meals. As long as I can make exceptions for olive oil and salt and pepper I should be good. I need to start being a little more creative!

  6. Yum, yum, yum! Your titles of "dark days of winter" always make me chuckle. Just curious: is your farmers market year round? Ours only goes through Oct. :(

  7. @Monica--I love slow cookers. And I feel your struggle! I thought we could even make exceptions for coffee, so if we're going to do that, then why not spices?

    @Hanni--There's one particular market that's open year-round but some of the vendors stop coming after December. I was talking to one who said there just aren't enough people to justify them showing up in the winter, so I'm stocking up on some things to freeze.


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