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When the temperature dips below freezing and snow covers the ground; what could be more lovely than a steaming hot bowl of stew to warm you up and make everything all right? My mother used to make a delicious short rib stew that was the only meal she broke out the special “peacock” bowls for (actually pheasants, but we thought they were really exotic and therefore peacocks). The stew was rich and meaty with loads of tender vegetables and steamy sauce and she often topped it with her parsley dumplings. Yum! The whole house smelled wonderful when it was cooking! Here is the closest thing I could find to that beloved recipe from my childhood.

Short Rib Beef Stew with Ale

from Simply Recipes

11.15 fields potatoesIngredients:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp hot paprika
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed of excess fat
  • 4 strips thick-cut bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bottle (12 oz.) a malty brown ale (we used Newcastle Brown ale)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes, chopped and juices reserved
  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold or russet potatoes
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 pound turnips (optional)


  1. Place bacon strips in a large (5 to 6 quart), thick-bottomed Dutch oven. Set the heat to medium high and cook the bacon until much of the fat has been rendered. Remove bacon to a paper-towel lined plate. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp of the bacon fat from pot. (Do not pour down the drain or you will clog your drain when the fat hardens as it cools.)
  2. Preheat oven to 300°F. While the bacon is cooking, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, hot paprika, smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Dredge the short ribs in the flour mixture.
  3. Add the short ribs to the pot with the bacon fat, taking care to not crowd the pot (work in batches if necessary). Brown on all sides, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. If you want to get good browning, do not stir the short ribs unless to turn. While the short ribs are browning, chop the bacon and set aside.
  4. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the short ribs from the pot to a bowl. Add the chopped onions to the pot. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the ale and, using a wooden spoon or spatula, scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add tomatoes and their juices and reserved bacon. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Return short ribs to pot, cover, put in the preheated oven, and cook for two hours. (Alternatively, you can do the cooking on the stovetop, just lower the heat to the lowest setting and cover.)
  5. Peel potatoes, turnips (optional), and carrots, and cut into 1-in. pieces. Add to short ribs, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender and meat pulls away easily from the bone, about 30-45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Spoon off excess fat. If you want, remove the bones before serving and cut any big pieces of meat into smaller chunks.

Many of these stew recipes can easily be adapted for a slow-cooker; and it is so easy to substitute barley or lentils for potatoes, and different root vegetables for each other. Don’t forget those dumplings or serve with some good fresh bread from one of our incredible BRFM bakers! The following list of recipes is so mouth-watering that it makes me want to have stew every night of the week!

Italian Sausage and Cabbage Stew

Polish Hunter’s Stew

Lamb Shank Stew with Root Vegetables

Classic Chicken and Dumplings

Dad’s Fish Stew

Santa Fe Pork and Black Bean Stew

Chicken Cacciatore (Italian Hunter’s Stew)