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It’s Official

The snow has fallen in Calgary! Although some are still hoping for a late October thaw, after our sweltering summer I’m admittedly looking forward to hearty dinners and cozy evenings!

One of my favourite things about this time of the year is the return of stews and braising! Out comes the Le Creuset dutch oven and on comes the stove, as I cook up some tasty recipes to keep me content as the weather turns. This year my mission is to shake up my recipes, and try some combinations that diverges from what Mom used to make. First on the chopping block is a Moroccan stew. I found a great recipe on the New York Times wedsite that I just had to share:

Beef and Prune Stew

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds lean boneless beef, preferably chuck, in 2-inch cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3rn plum tomatoes, stemmed and chopped (canned are fine)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, more to taste
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or other vinegar, or to taste
  • Chopped parsley leaves for garnish
  • 1. Place a deep skillet or casserole that can be covered over medium-high heat, and add oil. Brown meat well on all sides, seasoning with salt and pepper, for 10 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon.
  • 2. In same pot over medium-high heat, sauté onion and tomatoes with a large pinch of salt and some pepper. When they soften, about 5 minutes, stir in paprika, cinnamon, and bay leaf. Return meat to pan, and add stock and wine; bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. If mixture starts to dry, add a little water or stock.
  • 3. Remove cinnamon and bay leaf, and stir in sugar and prunes. Simmer until prunes and meat are soft, another 30 to 45 minutes. (Dish can be made in advance to this point; let sit for a few hours, or cover and refrigerate for up to a day before reheating and proceeding.) When meat is very tender, uncover pot and add vinegar; if necessary, raise heat so sauce thickens and becomes glossy. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve hot, garnished with parsley.

I couldn’t help but make a few changes to make it my own. I used dired cherries to give it a bit more zip, and I did dredge my stew meat in flour before browning, but other than that, this stew was a winner!