My Dad's Beef Stew

My Dad’s Beef Stew

Turnips are one of those funny vegetables: Many people object to the idea of them, but when you braise them slowly in a stew, particularly a peppery beef-based broth, they take on levels of umami flavor that even the pickiest of vegetable eaters can’t resist. This stew just screams snowy winter afternoon and pairs nicely with a deep Cabernet—two things I associate with my father who cooks this stew for football Sunday up in New Hampshire. You can also fancy it up and add a fresh richness with a dollop of herb butter preserved from when herbs are in peak season.

Serves 8 (or 4 with leftovers)

What you need:

  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour

  • ¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme (optional)

  • 2 pounds stew beef, cut into bite sized chunks

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, diced

  • ¼ cup red wine (optional)

  • 1 quart beef stock, store bought or homemade

  • 2 medium turnips (approximately 2 pounds), cut into a large dice

  • ½–2 cups water

  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into a medium dice

  • 6 medium carrots, roll cut or cut into ¼-inch rounds or half moons for really large carrots

  • 4 ribs celery, cut into ½-inch slices

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • Herb butter for serving

What you do:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and thyme. Add the beef pieces and toss with the flour mixture.

  2. In a dutch oven or large stock pot, heat the oil over high heat.

  3. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the beef and brown it on all sides, approximately 8 minutes, or until a crust forms. Remove from the pan and set aside. In the remaining fat, sauté the onion with a few pinches of salt until softened.

  4. Add the red wine, scraping up brown bits as you whisk it in. Add the stock, slowly whisking in a half-cup at a time, and letting it bubble and thicken, before adding more. Bring to a simmer.

  5. Return the beef to the pot. Add the turnips and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add the water half a cup at a time, as needed to reach your desired consistency.

  6. Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, and a few pinches of salt, and simmer, partially covered, for 90 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the stew thickens slightly. If the stew is still thin, you can remove 6 to 8 potato pieces, mash them with a fork, and whisk them into ½ cup of stew liquid. Then return the liquid to the pot.

  7. Add the balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes longer, until vegetables and stew reach your desired consistency.

  8. Portion into bowls and serve with a dollop of herb butter, if desired.


  • use diced celery root (celeriac) in addition to or in place of the turnips or celery

  • use dried rosemary along with the thyme or add rosemary and/or thyme sprigs to the cooking liquid

  • swap the balsamic vinegar for apple cider vinegar

To Freeze: Cool stew thoroughly. Consider what size portions you might want to have and use appropriately sized containers or freezer bags to store stew in (I like mine in 2-cup portions). If using bags, place in freezer flat and let harden for 2 hours before placing bag upright for storage.

To Reheat: Defrost the stew in its bag or container in the refrigerator for about 6 to 8 hours (some remaining ice chunks are okay). Transfer the stew to a soup pot. Heat covered, over medium heat, breaking up ice as needed. Add beef broth to thin if needed while reheating.

Spicy Root Vegetable and Sausage Hash with Soft Boiled Eggs

Adapted from Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health

This is a go to winter recipe for make ahead breakfast and lunch. Just reheat and top with a soft-boiled egg you made in a large batch over the weekend. Adjust the heat level to your personal taste by dialing up (or back) the amount of jalapeno or by adding some cayenne pepper. If you're monitoring your sodium, try this recipe with ground chicken or turkey in place of the sausage and increase the spices. I like to add fennel seeds in this case. You can also vary the root vegetables - try yukon golds, parsnips and turnips too.

Serves: 6


  • 2 medium beets
  • 1 large sweet potato, medium dice
  • 2 large carrots, medium dice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ red onion, small dice
  • 2 jalapenos, halved, seeds and membranes removed, sliced into ¼ inch strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, loose (not in casing), turkey or pork
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage or 2 teaspoons fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 6 eggs


  1. In a pressure cooker, cook beets until tender, about 15-20 minutes.* Allow to cool. Peel and cut into medium dice.
  2. Fill a medium pot with water to reach the bottom of a steamer basket. Insert steamer basket. Add sweet potatoes and carrots and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, steam until vegetables are tender but maintain their shape, about 8 minutes. Remove lid, remove from stove and allow to cool slightly.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. When it shimmers, add the red onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté until soft, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add jalapeños and garlic and sauté another minute. If you are using dried herbs, add them at this time and sauté for another 30 seconds. Move to the cooler side of the pan.
  5. Add the sausage, break it up with a wooden spoon or a fork, and cook on medium high heat until cooked through.
  6. Add in the beets, sweet potato, and carrots, and, if using, the fresh herbs. Add a pinch of salt and stir gently to combine while on medium high heat. Heat through.
  7. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Gently add in eggs. When water comes back to a boil, set timer for 6 minutes. Prepare an ice bath. After 6 minutes, quickly remove eggs from pot with a slotted spoon and drop into ice bath. Peel and serve on top of hash. See my blog for a step by step photographed tutorial on soft boiled eggs.

*If you do not have a pressure cooker, wash, peel and cut beets into small dice. Then steam in pot with steamer basket, separately from other root vegetables, about 7 minutes.

Roasted Beet Hummus

The subtle punch of clove is a welcomed surprise in this colorful hummus with warming spices. My family's pickles beets, which include whole cloves in the pickling liquid, inspired the flavors of this hummus that is perfect for winter's chill.

Makes: 1½ cups


  • 1 medium beet
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ - 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced, divided
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and scrub beet. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap in foil and roast until tender, about 30 minutes. Cool.

2. In a small sauté pan, on medium high heat, toast the cumin, cinnamon, and cloves just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. When beet is cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin. Put beet and garlic cloves in the bowl of a food processor. Purée until finely chopped.

4. Add the chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, half of the lemon juice, toasted spices, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper or salt if needed.

5. Serve with pita chips or vegetable slices or spread on a sandwich or wrap.



  • Substitute a sweet potato for the beet and roast without foil. Use cumin, cayenne, dried ground chipotle and/or smoked paprika for the spices. Use chickpeas or substitute black beans.
  • Instead of beet, use ½ cup of any cooked vegetable (skins removed, roasted, grilled, or steamed), such as broccoli, red bell peppers, carrots, or squash.
  • Substitute ½ cup of prepared pesto for the roasted vegetable, decrease the olive oil to 2 tablespoons, and omit the spices.
  • Use lime juice, apple cider vinegar, sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar in place of the lemon juice.
  • In place of the beet, add an entire head of garlic roasted in olive oil. Decrease the olive oil to 2 tablespoons. Use chickpeas or substitute navy or cannellini beans.