Friday, November 12, 2010

Beef Stew & Books . . . hmmm

It was good!

As the Thanksgiving holiday draws near I find myself wanting to toss everything aside and work around our home painting, cleaning and cooking! Unfortunately the text books are calling - loudly! This past weekend I wanted to make a beef stew, needed to finish a lesson plan, wanted to bake a loaf of bread, and needed to take a trip to the local library!

I think taking Fall classes, especially two with a 200 hr. practicum, is the worst thing to do to ones self - for me. Thankfully this time next month my agony and anxiety will be over and I should be able to put up the tree without the books calling - if they are still calling this time next month they'll probably find themselves in the fireplace!

A pile of books used for my lesson plan and to answer some questions

With the completion of these two classes and my 200 hr. practicum I'll have my library media specialist license - yeah! What does that mean? I'll be able to be a school librarian - yeah! That will leave me with 4 classes left to take to complete my masters in library - yeah! Those will be taken one at a time! My January class is lined up already!

So, without further adieu here's my beef stew! In case you were wondering, I went to the library, finished the lesson plan and I bought the bread!

Would you like some?

Balsamic Beef Stew


  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to
  • 2 lb. boneless beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat
    and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 lb. red or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1 1/2-
    inch chunks
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar


Brown the meat
In a resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, the 1/2 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. Add the beef, seal the bag and shake to coat the beef with the seasoned flour.

In a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Working in batches if needed to avoid crowding, remove the beef from the bag, shake off the excess flour and add the meat to the pot in a single layer. Cook, turning as needed, until browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes total. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate.

Add the onion to the drippings in the pan and sauté over medium heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bay leaves, wine and broth.

Braise the meat and vegetables
Return the meat and any juices from the plate to the pot. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and braise until the meat is nearly fork-tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add the potatoes and carrots, re-cover and continue to braise until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes more.

Finish the dish
Season the stew with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, divide among individual shallow bowls and serve immediately. Serves 6.


  1. That stew looks just thing for my tea tonight ... it's a dark, wet, miserable day over here, just as it was yesterday!
    Love Kathy xxx

  2. You work so hard. It will be nice to get a few days off and relax in OOB. Your stew looks delicious and of course I am a huge fan of balsamic vinegar. I will have to give this one a try.

  3. Oh, I might just have to make that stew on Sunday. Yum!

    Yay for being a librarian. :) It's everything you've ever heard about it and more!

  4. Stew look delicious! I can almost taste it...

    Lovely winter warmer recipe, well done for doing what you had to do! Very mature, I'd have bunked to bake like a badass. x x x

  5. Mmmmmm sounds so good! I think I will run to the grocery today and make some. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  6. That stew looks stick to your ribs delicious. Stew is such a comfort food to me, especially when we are all stressing about getting ready for the holidays, and you have school on top of all that. A big bowl of stew, crusty bread and a glass of wine. Now, that's sounds comforting.

  7. Here in Florida it was in the 80's today but that yummy bowl of stew makes me want to start cooking. I make cornbread to go with my beef stew. I'm going to give this recipe a try.

  8. It is always so nice to come home to a pot of stew or soup after a long day! I tend to use the slow cooker quite a bit in the winter, so I think I'll be adding this recipe to my repetoire. The addition of the balsamic vinegar intrigues me.
    My BFF is a librarian- she enjoys the work and doesn't miss the classroom at all. Good luck with your endeavor. I am starting my holiday decorating now- it takes me so long to put out and I want to enjoy it for more than a couple of weeks. I am debating, however, if I'm going to decorate all of the trees I usually put up. They're not all full size trees, but I don't think that the 12 footer will go up this year. I re-arranged the room over the summer and there is NO room to set it up unless I re-do it. And that is NOT a prospect I would look forward to! LOL
    Glad you liked the little tour of the shop in Tipp City. I'm always on the lookout for new places to shop and I am running out of options that are close by. I need a longer road trip, I think.
    ~ Sue

  9. Hi thanks for stopping by my place. That stew looks great. I plan to try the recipe. Finally it is getting cool enough for soups and stews in Alabama. I love to can, did tons of it when my Mother was alive, but have been afraid to try it by myself. I love to cook and my husband loves to eat.
    I love your blog.

  10. Congratulations on nearing the end of your studies! I can't even imagine being in school and trying to juggle everything else in life, so my hat's off to you!

    And your stew looks yummy!!

    Kat :)

  11. Yummy looking stew! And congrats on your progression to your career goal - I loooove libraries, so I think it's awesome that you'll be part of one. :) :) I don't envy your school work though, I'm so glad I'm done with my BA and I seriously doubt I'll ever go any further than that. :)

  12. Feeling tired reading all you managed to do!!!!!

    Stew looks wonderful - just what the doctor ordered for the awful weather here.

  13. Thanks for stopping by my blog. BTW, I bought that turkey at an antique store, but it was really really cheap because it was all dirty and grimy when I bought it. Your stew looks delicious! Might have to make that for dinner this weekend.

  14. mmmmm looks good. I love the crock pot. my daughter just finished her Masters this spring in special education. She now is waiting for her first baby in late Dec.

  15. Well at least you shouldn't have marking and lesson planning to do as a school librarian. I used to be one of those and I so loved having the long holidays. Now I'm a University librarian and I hardly get any holiday at all :(

  16. oh have been busy...i LOVE books..i would LOVE to work in a library...

    and you have that Maine Blueberry Cookbook too!!!!

    your stew looks delicious..i just LOVE coming here to are one of my favorites...

    getting excited for Thanksgiving around here....

    sending love to you and Duke
    kary and teddy

  17. I will be so ready for a good beef stew after all of the turkey is eaten! This sounds wonderful and will be sure to keep your brain sharp :) Good luck with your classes!

  18. Hi lovely lady, am sorry for not getting back to you. I've been out of town for four days with out my Notebook pc.I had no way of reading my comments. I would love some Beef Stew right now ~~ Thanks so much for your comments about my Tablescapes. I hope you have a Great Thanksgiving Day.

  19. This looks like a perfect fall dish. I will be trying this recipe very soon.


  20. Greetings! Thanks for finding my blog and visiting and becoming my newest Follower! I have just become YOUR newest Follower! :) Your stew looks delicious, I will have to try the recipe. I will be back to see some of your other post -- in the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. AND congratulations on getting your Master's degree in the near future!
    Best regards,


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