{Comfort Food} Savory Stew for a Southern Snow Day

For the second time in two weeks, we have significant snowfall on our little farm in North Alabama. Needless to say, all four of our children are beyond thrilled!

 

We spent all day out playing in the 8-inches of snow as well as taking care of our little farm.
As you can see, there is rarely a dull moment to be found around here!

 

After a day out in the snow, there is nothing more satisfying than a bubbling pot of stew.  I don’t know why, but it seems that soups will always warm me up quicker than anything else!  We love lamb here, so Mulligan Stew fits a snowy occasion perfectly.  Overflowing with meat & veggies, this stew fills as well as warms you right up!

Savory Mulligan Stew

 

 

2 pounds cubed beef tips
2 pounds cubed lamb
2-1/2 tsp salt, divided
11/2 tsp ground black pepper, divided
1/2 all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 medium yellow onions, cut into i-inch pieces
1 (8 oz) pkg of baby bella mushrooms
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 cup red wine
6 cups beef broth
3 cans (14 oz) of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
6 medium carrots, sliced into 1-inch pieces
4 ribs celery cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 Tbsp sugar
4 cups cubed potatoes
3 Tbsp fresh thyme
Garnish: Fresh thyme
1.  In a large bowl combine beef, lamb, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, add flour and toss gently to coat.
 
 
2. In a large Dutch oven, heat 4 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat.  Cook meat for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently until browned.  Remove meat and set aside.
 
 
3.To the pot add remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, onion, mushrooms, and garlic; cook for about five minutes, stirring often.  Add wine and cook for two more minutes.  
Add broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, carrot, celery, sugar, remaining salt and pepper, and reserved meat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, uncovered, stirring occasionally.  Add potatoes and cook until they are fork tender.  Add thyme, stirring until well mixed.
Garnish with fresh thyme if desired.
I went beyond the thyme garnish and added a tablespoon of Creme Fraiche.  With the texture of sour cream, it has a buttery taste that really added to my stew.   Don’t be afraid to try something new!





How has your week started out?  Is it snowing?  Raining?  What’s your favorite thing to eat on a snowy day?

Easy Hamburger Buffet

I don’t know about you, but after days and days of rich food (which I will get to later), I was ready for a simple meal when it came time for the last of our Christmas celebrations over the weekend! With New Year celebrations coming up this weekend, and everyone glued to the television watching football, I thought I would share my go-to meal (especially when your gathering involves children) for a casual gathering to inspire your own.
Hamburgers.
 
 
For our day-after Christmas celebration, I was fortunate to have a handy hubby who loves to grill year round, even in the snow, which made the burger buffet an even better idea.  Talk about your easy clean-up!

I can’t remember ever meeting anyone who didn’t like a good hamburger,  but for our holiday gathering we decided to go beyond your normal ground beef for our burgers.  We used ground lamb, bison, and sirloin for those who were not up to trying something new.

(FYI you can purchase both ground lamb & bison at most Publix or Whole Food markets)

Setting up for a burger buffet is quite simple.  We used an assortment of rolls for buns and made all of the patties small in the style of the popular sliders.
Wheat, sourdough, yeast & ciabatta rolls for a variety of flavors look lovely in a basket lined with a colorful towel.

There are a variety of condiments for burgers, so pick your favorite and go with it.  Keep it super simple and serve them straight from the bottles, or dress up your buffet with speciality condiment jars.

condiment jars from Pottery Barn
Cheddar, provolone, baby swiss, & pepper-jack cheese

We also had a platter of assorted cheeses and basics for dressing a burger such as lettuce, pickles, and onions.

I served chips out of cute little baskets to round out our buffet.

 

buy your baskets at Michael’s after the holidays when they are on clearance for a great deal!
my nephew & daughter enjoying  dressing their own burgers

I also had one more condiment on our buffet (just because it’s my favorite), caramelized onions.

Take a large sweet onion and thinly slice it.  Pour a splash of olive oil in a sauté pan and add your onions.  Cook on medium heat until transparent and cut to low.  Let cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

 

With about ten minutes of cooking time left, add about 2 Tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar and cook until the vinegar has completely dissolved.

These are especially delicious on the lamb burger topped with blue cheese.

So, what does your easy entertaining menu look like?