There are many things in life that make the best of friends.
Certain things partner up in such a way making them better together than they ever could've been apart: a cool evening and a blanket; a good movie and some fresh, hot popcorn; a golden-pink hued sunset and a contemplative walk; a heart filled with love and a warm embrace or a kiss.
The things that go together give a little extra definition to life, and create warmth and preciousness; they offer color and a little special flavor to our experience, making it just a bit more soft and cozy.
Delicious pairings give comfort when comfort is what we're craving; they pique our excitement, and create a more complete and whole experience, which offers that much more complexity and depth to the flavor of things.
Apologies and reconciliations, honesty and acceptance, love and the desire to receive love—all of these are like a warming fall stew full of rich, earthy ingredients that on its own, is delicious; but when ladled into a fresh, soft bread bowl that just longs to hold and absorb it, becomes a complete and divinely nourishing meal, because of the unification.
We, people, are best when we get together with other people; and when we do, those amazing, wonderful things within each of us only come to the surface even more and become highlighted when we partner with others so that we may become more fully who we were meant to be.
The partnerships found in life and in food really aren't so different.
So here's a little acknowledgement of those things that go oh-so well together; they make life a little richer and provide depth, meaning and perhaps even a little sparkle to our existence, because of their wonderful, delectable best friend-ship.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Fall Harvest Pumpkin and Beef Stew with Vegetables In Warm, Buttery Bread Bowls
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 6
• 1 ½ pounds beef stew meat, cut into bite-size chunks
• Black pepper
• ¼ cup all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 1 white onion, diced
• 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
• 3 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
• 2 ribs celery, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1 (15 ounce) can organic pumpkin (puree)
• 3 ½ cups beef stock, hot
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
• 1 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 6 bread bowls, centers scooped out
• ¼ cup melted butter
-Add the beef stew meat into a medium bowl, and sprinkle over a couple of good pinches of salt and black pepper, as well as the flour; toss everything with your fingers to coat the meat well.
-Place a large pot over medium-high heat, and add in the butter and the oil; once nice and hot, add the beef pieces in (work in a couple of batches if necessary), and allow them to sear for a few minutes until deeply browned on all sides.
-With the meat in the pot, add in the onion, parsnips, carrot and celery, and stir to combine the ingredients; allow this mixture to cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
-Next, add in the garlic and stir that in; once that becomes aromatic, add in the potatoes, the Italian seasoning, another good pinch of pepper, plus the pumpkin puree; stir to combine.
-Add in the hot beef stock, and stir to combine; reduce your heat to low, and allow the stew to very gently simmer, with the lid very slightly askew, for about 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the beef is tender (stirring occasionally).
-To finish the stew, add in the thyme and parsley; keep hot.
-Preheat your oven to 400°, and line a baking sheet with foil; brush a little of melted butter into the hollowed out cavity of the bread bowls (you can even brush the outside lightly, too) and place them on the baking sheet and into the oven to toast/warm for about 4 minutes.
-Ladle the stew into the bread bowls, and enjoy.