Beef and Shallot Stew

Winter months just call for a good stew. This is a recipe that I’ve had for a long time from Real Simple that I just think of every so often – Beef and Shallot Stew. I don’t/can’t eat beef, so I replace it with wild game. I’ve normally had venison but this time I found Wild Boar at Sprouts. It’s generally easier to have whole pieces of meat vs. ground, but sometimes you have to work with what you have.



  • 4 pounds chuck meat, cut into 3- to 4-inch pieces, or 4 pounds pre-cut stew meat
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 pounds shallots, peeled
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme


1) Heat oven to 300° F. Season the beef with the salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add some of the beef to the pot and brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining beef.
2) Spoon off and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings. Add the wine and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom, for 3 minutes.
3) Return the beef to the pot along with the shallots and broth. Bring to a boil. Skim any foam. Add the thyme. Cover and transfer to oven until the beef is tender, about 2 hours. Spoon into individual bowls.


Since I used ground meat, I didn’t need to cook the stew for nearly as long (can be a fraction of the time until the meat is cooked and onion are to the ‘softness’ you want). I serve it with some great French bread and green salad. Perfect for a cold day. Also pairs well with red wine. Cheers!

Miles Better Pies

So I’m not a pie eater.  But when you’re on a tour and you have to stop and get a high recommendation from a driver sometimes you listen.  We were on our way to Milford Sound, New Zealand and took a break in Te Anau.


The driver pointed at this little tiny shop called Miles Better Pies and more.


This is a long-standing shop that primarily makes meat pies.  I don’t eat a ton of red meat but something he said clicked.  They have venison pie.


I don’t like crust but wanted to check out the inside.  After finding out the filling had no dairy, bring it on.  The filling was chunks of meat vs. ground and had mouth-watering flavor.  So…amazing…  One of those places where you just kind of leave the fork hanging in your mouth.


Portuguese Green Soup

January, cold, soup weather.  It was the perfect day to make something nice and hot for dinner, especially since I hadn’t made a one-pot wonder for awhile.  I flipped through several cookbooks looking for a recipe I hadn’t made yet (because I wanted to try something new) and came across a Portuguese Green Soup in my Bon Appetit book.  Basic ingredients, could make some changes to use what I had, and sounded delicious.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch collard greens, center stems cut away, leaves thinly sliced  — or sort of chopped/cut into pieces
1 pound fully cooked spicy sausage (such as linguiça, andouille, or hot links), cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds — I used venison roast that I had and cubed it
5 3/4 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 3/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, diced — why peel them?  There is great stuff in the skin!
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper



Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Saute until onion is soft and golden , about 5 minutes. Note:  my apartment smelled SO good.


Add collard greens and saute until wilted, about 4 minutes.


Add sausage (or venison in my case) and saute 5 minutes.


Add broth and potatoes. Simmer soup uncovered until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.


Transfer 2 cups soup (without sausage) to processor. Blend until smooth; return to pot of soup and bring to simmer.  Mix in crushed red pepper. Season with salt and black pepper.

This is where immersion blenders are heaven!!!  Now, it was hard to totally avoid the meat here but it made it kind of cool in the end.  I made it not super smooth but not super chunky.




It was a very nice soup.  As mentioned, the meat was sort of ‘smoothed’ out from the immersion blender.  I had to add more salt — don’t know if it’s because sausage can often have more salt (and the recipe doesn’t call for any to begin with, they mention to add it at the end).  I added some garlic salt to give it some more kick.  But, I like this recipe.  It says 4 dinner servings.  Definitely!  I have plenty of soup to go around.