Easy Breezy Apple Cider Beef Stew

I have to write a quick post about tonight's dinner - it was perfectly easy, and a wonderful warming meal for a cold winter's night. The picture above is the beginning of the process. I browned some local grass-fed stew meat that I got at the Yahara Co-op in a little bit of olive oil and a dusting of flour, and then added chopped leeks (not local, but in the fridge and needing to be used,) and local carrots, celeriac, and turnips. It was then that I remembered that I didn't have any stock or red wine in the house to use as a cooking liquid, so I decided to try using what I did have: local unpasteurized apple cider.

Here it is. I bought this at the indoor market on Saturday - it's completely fresh and completely delicious. I think the farmer said it was pressed on the 7th of January. I was a bit worried it would make the stew too sweet, but I added it anyway about half and half with water. I also added a bit of powdered thyme and salt. The apple cider is a strong flavor, so I didn't want to get too carried away with seasonings.

This picture didn't turn out very well (I'm making do with my old digital camera while I wait for the shiny new one I just bought to arrive,) but this is the stew right after I added the liquid. I put a lid on it (a little cockeyed to allow steam to escape) and cooked it on low for about two hours.

It turned out perfectly! All in all, I only spent about 15 or 20 minutes on this, cutting up the veggies and browning the meat. It took a while to cook, but overall it couldn't have been easier - and boy was is good!

The stew went perfectly with this simple cabbage salad: local savoy cabbage, carrots, and some California kale that I indulged myself in. I dressed it simply with some olive oil and apple cider vinegar to go with the apple cider theme.

The stew was steamy and delicious! Just the thing for a cold winter's night! The apple cider mellowed out with cooking - It had a mild sweetness that complemented the beef and root veggies very well. Eating locally in Wisconsin isn't so bad (at least not yet!)
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