I have a love/hate relationship with rainy days. I hate going out, but while inside, reading a book, I like the sound of rain on my window. I also love eating stews on rainy days like today. Simple comfort food is always the best remedy for a wet and chilly day.
This stew is rich and meaty with soft peas and crunchy sweet white onions. Served in crispy potato bowls that just sop up the juices with mashed potatoes on top, this is a meal that is sure to stick to your ribs.
2 boxes beef stock [$4]
1 bag peas [$2]
1 bag small white onions (frozen, already peeled. Trust me, you don’t want to peel these yourself) [$2]
3 lb beef roast, cut into cubes [$10]
Sherry or red wine or whatever you have on hand to deglaze, water can also be used.
1 bag potatoes, white or russet [$3]
Preheat oven to 425.
Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and use a cookie pan with a healthy amount of oil in the bottom, and place potatoes flesh side down. Cook until the potatoes are crispy, about 40 minutes or so.
While the potatoes are cooking, empty the stock into a pan over high heat to reduce. I like to throw in some garlic cloves, thyme, and any other herbs I have on hand with a dash if red pepper to flavor the stock further.
Take another pot and coat with olive oil until just smoking. Add the meat (seasoned with salt and pepper of course) and let sear on all sides, about 10 minutes. Tale the meat out of the pan and add a splash of sherry ( my personal choice but feel free to use water or broth if you don’t want alcohol or red wine if you want a richer stew. Add the onions and let sweat for a few minutes, then add the seared meat and simmered stock. Cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes. For a richer stew, I like to add flour mixed into a paste with some softened butter. Put into the stew along with the peas and let simmer covered for another 10 minutes or so.
When the potatoes are ready, shell out the flesh, leaving about a 1/2 inch border. Reserve the flesh and add butter, milk, and salt and mash into creamy potatoes.
To serve, put the stew in the potato shells and top with the mashed potatoes.