Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Stay-in-Bed Stew: Sounding Pretty Good

My mother was not a cook. That is an understatement.

She was a can-opener. She would walk into our tiny kitchen at 4:55 and call us to dinner at 5:00, on the dot, everyday. A typical dinner, always served on paper plates, might include Dinty Moore® canned stew served over instant mashed potato flakes, perhaps with a side of mushy green beans from a can.

When she did "cook" it was because she liked the name of the recipe. Her specialty was something called 1-2-3 Junk and, as I recall, it went something like: Take one can of frozen orange juice, mix with 2 cans of pineapple chunks and three ripe bananas. Mash together in a square metal pan and then put in the freezer until it turns into something resembling sorbet. Actually, it was pretty good. The other recipe she liked to make was called: Stay-In-Bed Stew. The concept was that she would made a simple stew that had 2 cups of five ingredients, put it in a 250 degree oven, and then jump in bed for a 4-hour nap, insisting that all her children do the same.

When I was just out of college I was invited to come skiing with my friend Karen and we stayed with her parents in Snowmass, CO. One night I offered to make dinner and since I had no idea how to cook, I made "Stay-in-Bed Stew." It was well-received, but renamed: "Stay-on-the-Slopes Stew."

This morning, Ed and I harvested a bushel of yukon gold potatoes from our garden. I'm thinking I'll have to make Stay-in-Bed Stew. A long nap sounds good.

Stay-in-Bed Stew

2 pounds lean stew meat
2 cups celery, cut into 1” pieces
2 cups carrots, cut into 1” pieces
2 cups mushrooms or potatoes
2 cups diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
pinch sugar
4 tablespoons Minute Tapioca
3 cups V-8 juice
drop or two of hot pepper sauce (not in my mother's original recipe)
1/2 cup of red wine (not in my mother's original recipe)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Put all the ingredients in a large pot (Dutch oven) with a lid. Cover and bake for 4 hours. Serve over yellow rice or noodles. 

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