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The thunder is rumbling and the rain is gently tapping at my windows.  The wind is fiercely blowing, over 30 mph.  Crash!  A huge branch falls off the half dead tree in the front yard blocking one side of the street.  The dog is whining at me because he needs to go out but refuses because it’s wet.  It’s been cloudy and gloomy the past couple of days.  I desperately need some fair weather and sunshine.  What’s for dinner…should I match the foul weather and just make some boring Ramen?  Yes, we do eat boring Ramen sometimes.  No, I need something beautiful.  I need some inspiration.  A messy stack of unopened or half-read books sits in a corner.  “My Life in France” by Julia Child and Alex Prudhomme catches my eye and I’m transported into Julia’s life of zest and unbounded enthusiasm. 

In the fridge, I had some morels that I got for $10, a steal, for the entire pound, some ramps and parsley from Shooting Star Farm, asparagus from Bures, and skirt steak from Valley View.  I thought about Julia’s famous boeuf bourguignon recipe which I have been wanting to try for awhile, but I didn’t have all the ingredients nor the time to follow her recipe properly.  The solution, just make up my own beef stew.  I decided to make a lighter version by using white wine and my spring vegetables.  It turned out really well.  I cut up chunks of day old French bread and put it at the bottom of the bowl then ladled some of the meaty gravy and vegetables on top.  Delicious!  By the way, the forecast says “sunshine” for tomorrow.

RECIPE

A Springtime Stew

Ingredients

  • 2 strips of bacon
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried celery
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb. skirt steak (cut into cubes)
  • 2 T. flour
  • 2 c. white wine (from Wollersheim)
  • 2 c. beef stock
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • 2 laurel leaves

 

  • 1/2 lb. asparagus
  • 1/3 lb. ramps
  • 1/3 lb. morels
  • 1/2 lb. potatoes
  • 2 T. chopped parsley (to add right before serving)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  (Use a medium sized enameled cast iron pot.)  Cook the bacon until brown and crisp then add the onions and garlic.  Brown the meat then add the dried spices.  Coat the meat with the flour.  Deglazed the pot with the wine and beef stock.  Add the tomato paste.  Cover the pot and place it in the oven.  Lower the temperature to 350 degrees and cook for 3 hours.  Wrap some potatoes in some foil and put it in the oven.  Afer 3 hours, add the potatoes into the pot along with the rest of the ingredients (asparagus, ramps, morels).  Cook for an addition 30-35 minutes or until the vegetables are done.

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