My Go-To “Clean Out” Stew

In hindsight, this isn’t a very good recipe title, but I was really trying to pay homage to Dorie Greenspan.   Again, let me explain.

We are continuing our freezer and pantry Clean Out.   Today I am using whatever I could find for a beef and veggie stew.   (Again, the dates that things were labeled will remain unknown!)

I found some beautiful beef stew meat and bones that I had bought from our farmer-meat vendor this fall.   I really wanted to do something worthy of them.

I found some frozen corn on the cob, some frozen green beans and carrots, some frozen shredded zucchini, and a bit of pumpkin puree.   I also am using some canned Farmers Market tomatoes that I put up this summer.   These items were all going into the stew.   Mom also brought me some dried kale from her garden when she visited in November.   I would throw some of this in at the end as well.

What was on hand.

The only item I was missing for a good stew was an onion.   I hate to admit it, but I used the dehydrated kind.  (Hey, I am cleaning out my pantry, too,  you know.)

With a little inspiration from a Dorie and  her “Go-To Beef Daube,” I started in.  (Per Dorie, I deglazed the pan with brandy and used a lot more wine than I normally do.)

New title:   My Go-To Stew with What Is On Hand

2 T. bacon fat (leftover from my bacon for my stir-fry)
2 lbs. stew meat with bones
1/4 c. brandy
1/2 bottle of red wine
32 oz. beef stock
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 qt. whole tomatoes with juice
2 sprigs parsley and thyme
1 sprig rosemary
Assorted frozen veggies
Dried kale

Heat bacon fat in a large Dutch oven or soup kettle.  Brown stew meat on each side.  Deglaze pan with brandy and let it boil for about one minute.

Stew meat from our local farmers.

Add wine, stock, garlic, and tomatoes.

I also threw in a dried mild pepper.

Place parsley, thyme and rosemary in a large spice ball (or tie them together into a bouquet garni).  Heat to boiling and then reduce to simmer and cover.   Check after one hour and see how tender the meat is.

My "bouquet garni" on my Dorie's inspirational recipe.

Remove meat (if on bones) to a platter to cool.  Dump in all the veggies and stir.  (I used some corn on the cob—some cut off and some added on the cob, green beans, shredded zucchini, pumpkin puree, and carrots.  

Forgive me, but I also added dehydrated onion.)   Remove meat from bone, shred and return to pot.

Add dried kale.

Let simmer as needed until all veggies are done.   Remove bouquet garni.

This smelled great while simmering.   And, we have gotten many a meal out of it.

Oh, look! I found some saltines in the cupboard.

14 comments to My Go-To “Clean Out” Stew

  • Liz

    Oh, I love this recipe…and I love your tweaks! I just want to grab that corn and eat it 🙂

  • I’m going to be moving in 2 months & your posts this week are making me realize that I need to be really conscious of doing my own clean out very soon!

    • Eliot

      Thanks, Liz and Julie. I feel like this project has become more of a freezer clean out than one of the pantry.

  • The corn left on the cob really make you want to dig in and grab it and get messy and slurpy all at once. I have some big soup bones in my freezer…I’m waiting till I get brave enough to try and make pho.

  • I love that you make such great use of the food that you have on-hand – in your pantry, fridge and freezer. That’s just so sensible and environmentally conscious – you are a great example for all of us! Stews are great fun because the sky’s the limit – pretty much anything goes 😉 – love the look of the chunky cob! how fun and delicious looking…

    • Eliot

      Thanks, Kelly. You make me sound a lot better than I actually am! 🙂 And, I have some frozen bananas that I am going to try to make your fabulous ice cream with!

  • This isn’t what I was expecting when I read your title. *wink*

    But, it’s amazingly beautiful.

    We’ve been on the same journey…using what we have. It’s difficult, especially when you’re a food blogger, because it’s all about capturing the next great recipe. And as soon as I see something on my favorite blogs, all I want to do is make it.

    Thanks for that, btw. Now I have to go hunt down kale and stew meat. 😉

  • Dan

    The stew does look very good, however, the title remind me of something you’d take for a “cleansing.” Ew.

  • See, this is what soups are to me–just whatever you have on hand-throw it in the pot! This is beautiful and I don’t judge for the dehydrated onion. No problem with that!

  • The “clean out” could be misinterpreted, LOL. I think we all need to have a recipe like this on hand to get rid of whatever is in the fridge/pantry. Mine is usually some kind of omelet, and David’s is a stir-fry. Yours looks fabulous–warm and satisfying for the cold weather.