Today was a damp and depressing December day. Since we don't have any snow yet, I gazed out at the dead grass and pondered why, exactly, I live in Minnesota after all. It was the sort of Saturday when the only thing that will cheer me up is making something elaborate for dinner. Luckily, I had my mom's stew recipe and a package of venison in the freezer.
- 1 pound venison round steak, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes (if you don't have venison, you can substitute beef stew meat)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup sliced onion
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch of ground allspice
- 1 1/2 cups baby carrots
- 4 cups chopped potatoes (1/2 inch pieces)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (optional)
Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil and tilt to evenly coat. Add venison and brown over medium heat. Stir in one cup of water, onion, bay leaf, salt, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, paprika, pepper, garlic powder, and allspice. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove bay leaf and add carrots and potatoes to stew. Increase heat to medium and cook, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent stew from sticking.
Optional: If stew needs thickening, whisk flour into 1/4 cup cold water. Stir flour mixture slowly into stew, and cook until thickened.
Serve and enjoy, feeling the winter blues melt away as you savor each bite.