Gathering Around the Cooler Weather

So, it’s alllllmost that time of year when autopilot takes over your calendar and every weekend seems to be jam packed with something – pumpkin picking, Thanksgiving menu planning, autumn festivals, even a little jump start on Christmas gift buying. (Not that I’m done or anything – okay, I am bought and wrapped already, whatever.)

I thought I’d bring you this stew this week as a way toward of circling up the troops and having a great chat about what they’d like to see come in the next month or so in their holiday wish lists – both gifts and events! I personally spend a lot of time managing a calendar around this or that event and making sure my face gets to see as many folks as possible….or impossible as it sometimes seems.

This is a camp stew I made for a great trip once, and I’ve edited it a bit to be a little more fall – it was originally, despite being called stew, a more summery dish. I’ve made sure to add all the savory sweetness one can handle in a dutch oven, and also add in the warmth of fall’s spices and flavors.

Fall into Camp Stew

· 2 Tbsp. olive oil

· 1 lb. bacon, chopped

· 2 onion, diced

· 3 apples, chopped – I used honeycrisp

· 4 carrots, peeled and cubed

· 2 cans of beer – whatever you normally drink will be good. If you’re more on the bitter side of drinking beer, you may want to scale some back and replace with chicken broth.

· 2 sweet potatoes, cubed

· 2 lb beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

· 1 pkg italian sausage – I prefer hot, my fellow camper was a mild person, it’s up to your flavor. I tend to take this out of the casing and drop it in small chunks. You can slice on your preference.

· 4 cups of brown rice, for serving

· 1 head garlic, roasted and mashed

· 1 Tbsp dried sage

· 1 tsp. nutmeg

· Salt and pepper for flavoring

Place the oil and bacon into a hot dutch oven on the stove and cook until bacon begins to turn brown and render it’s fat. Add onion, apples and carrot. Stir until veggies have become soft – around 10 minutes. Add in 2 cans of beer, sweet potatoes, beef stew meat, Italian sausage and spices (garlic, sage, nutmeg, salt and pepper). Allow to simmer until beef is tender (around 1-1.5 hours depending on type of stew meat and size) Serve over brown rice.

At times I’ve put in butternut squash instead of sweet potato. Added some celery and parsley in place of sage and nutmeg (to get back to the original version). This is great served over egg noodles as well.

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