Quinoa Beef Stew

I didn't really do an excessive amount of things today - but I did get a few things off my to-do list. Reorganizing some of my pictures. Watched a Hallmark movie (or two). Ate leftover pizza ... and took a walk through the Hoyt-Hall trails in Marshfield. I rarely find a trail that I am disappointed in - but I really liked this one. It's essentially a big loop around a pond but with lots of ups and downs and tree roots and birds. One of the reasons it is so well maintained is because it is essentially brand new. If it was closer, I would be there so much more often. 
I've been trying to make a meal a week that is feasible for lunch at work or a fast dinner after the train home. While at the same time adding in two more goals: slightly less sodium and delightful in cold weather. The combination of those three goals somehow led me to this quinoa beef stew. I have a love hate relationship with quinoa. Sometimes I'm fine with it (like here) but other times it just feels far too healthy and bland as hell. 

But, this stew was a gamble. Any good beef stew - or similar meal - seems to require hours on the stove... and this one was only calling for an hour. So yeah, this isn't exactly a traditional meat-melting beef stew but I would immediately recommend it. Here are a few notes:

  • QUINOA // The quinoa worked out fine. 
  • VEGGIES // I went heavy on the carrots and peas here - not only for some color but also because I wanted to. Plus the carrots were from my garden.
  • RED WINE // There is something kind of particular about the broth. When the recipe called for chicken broth, I stuck to it. I think the next time I try this I might opt for beef broth with a dash of red wine. But this alteration might be because I was really craving a beef bourguignon or a bolognese.

Here's how it goes:
  1. Preheat large deep skillet on medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion and carrots, cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Return skillet to medium - high heat and add beef, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown, stirring as necessary. My meat releases more juices than expected and so I just poured some of them out. I knew there was a lot of flavor in the juice... but trying to be healthy.
  3. Pour the chicken stock over meat and add in the cooked onion and carrots, garlic and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
  4. Once the pot is at a boil, stir in the uncooked quinoa and frozen peas. Then reduce heat to low and cook covered for about 45 minutes.
  5. Discard bay leaves and you are ready to serve!
Shopping List
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 cups of carrots, sliced
Olive oil
2 lbs meat, cut into 1" cubes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 cups chicken stock, low sodium
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 bay leaves
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

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