Inspired to Dress It Up: A Warming New Year’s Stew

My sisters and I inspire each other without even trying. We often buy the same  purse or coat without conferring, and sometimes I post the exact kind of recipe my sibling is wishing for. “A stew or soup for this cold weather would be nice,” she suggests. “We in Texas don’t know much about those kinds of dishes.”

Well, here you are sister: Dale’s warming New Year’s stew which I’d planned to post even before you mentioned it.

May this recipe be a blessing to all!!    [RuthAnn]


Dale’s World:


My grocery store had lamb at a very good price this week. I bought a small boneless leg and made a very good stew. Lamb is naturally tender and doesn’t need to be cooked as long as some beef. Two hours is sufficient, and you could get by with less were it not necessary to meld all the flavors together. Even if you think you don’t care for lamb, I think you will find this recipe quite tasty.

You will need:

1 to 2 lbs Lean Meat (Lamb or Beef)   3 Tablespoons Butter

Carrots                                                     3 Tablespoons Flour

Potatoes                                                   1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme

Small Onions                                           2 teaspoons Paprika

Salt and Pepper                                    2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tablespoon chopped Parsley

3 teaspoons Bouillon Granules              3 cups Water

Lamb Stew


1. Remove fat and connective tissue from the meat. For four people you will need 1 to 2 pounds of lean meat, more if they are big meat eaters. Use your kitchen scale. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces.

2. Peel and chop the carrots into bite-sized pieces. I used the carrots that were already peeled to look like baby carrots. They are not really baby carrots, just big carrots cut up and trimmed.

3. Peel and cut up the potatoes. The proportions of the vegetables are not critical; use as many as you like.

4. You can use any kind of small boiling onions. I used frozen ones and found them quite acceptable.

5. Chop the parsley.

6. Put the flour in a plastic bag, then add the meat and shake it to coat the meat with flour.


1. Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a stew pot and brown the meat. After browning the meat, temporarily remove it from the pot and set it aside.

2. Put the remaining flour into the pot to make a roux and brown it. Add more butter if needed.

3. Add the three cups water and three teaspoons beef bouillon granules. You may use 3 cups canned beef broth or homemade beef stock instead of the water and bouillon granules. Cook until it all thickens.

4. Return the meat to the pot and add the vegetables.

5. Add the salt and pepper, red wine vinegar,  dried thyme, paprika and tomato paste. Stir.

6. Place a lid on the pot. You now have a choice to let the stew simmer on top of the stove for two hours or let it simmer in a 350 oven for the same length of time. On top of the stove you will need to scrape the bottom of the pot occasionally. In the oven you will have to do it less often.

7. After two hours, taste the stew and make any adjustments to the seasoning you deem necessary.


1. Divide the stew between bowls and sprinkle the chopped parsley on top of each bowl.

2. Serve with bread, cheese, pickles, olives, deviled eggs or any  number of handy finger foods.

A Warming Stew


Food for Thought:

Inspired to Dress It Up

In gourmet cooking, we dress things up. We make Lamb Stew special by adding thyme and paprika, a sweet potato dish different by including grated lemon rind, a sandwich unique by adding dates and raisins.

If you’re thinking about New Year’s Resolutions this year, you might consider making 2012 special for yourself  and those around you by resolving to be creative this year, to dress things up. Add little touches of fun or beauty or spice to your meals, your kitchen, your house, your garments and your character.

I’m loving my new Shorter Oxford English Dictionary because it’s definitions are almost a celebration. Some words are shown to be very rich. Dress is one of those. Dress can mean clothing belonging to a certain country—folk dress.  Then there’s battle dress, evening dress, morning dress, fancy dress, full dress. The phrase “dressed to kill” means dressed to create a striking impression. Norwegian author Nevile Shute’s quote is a good example of this meaning: “She dressed in the red shirt and slacks  that she had worn when she met Dwight first.”

A Magic Christmas Tree

To dress can also mean “to make straight, order or make ready, to treat (as a wound), to cultivate or tend a garden.” It is used too of food or stone that turns out well when “dressed.”

Dressing things up is a way of celebrating. At Christmas we dress the tree and deck the halls.

My 3-year-old grandson and I decided we didn’t want to end our Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations. So on New Year’s Day, we decided purple was a New Year’s color. I adorned myself in a silky purple shirt with necklace to match, and Desmond adorned himself (with help) in Grandma’s purple poet shirt. It covered him from shoulder to foot, and with the sleeves rolled massively up, fit him perfectly.

You might want to dress things up a bit this year by accessorizing a neutral outfit with a red scarf or purchasing some animal earrings for the delight of a child in your life.  You could make a greeting card instead of buying one, or get into the habit of trying out the new recipes you find on our blog every other Thursday. My son gave me two beautiful cookbooks for Christmas, and I plan to make a recipe from one each week in order to increase my repertoire.

My friend Renee used to give seminars on Creative Dinners. One of her ideas was to dress up a centerpiece by creating it to mirror the interests of your guest. For example, for an avid readeryou might create a centerpiece of several colorful books with interesting bookends. Another idea Renee shared was to be intentional in furnishing our kitchens by purchasing an implement that will simplify your meal preparation : a pizza cutter , a 1 ½  inch spatula, or a zester.

But the one thing we can’t forget is the importance of working on our spiritual growth. We can “dress up” our character by working on a weakness. I need to work on the character trait of discipline or self-control.  Of course I’ll need the help of the Holy Spirit. I can’t change myself alone.

If we’re not sure what we need to clothe ourselves with spiritually this year, there’s a list always ready and waiting in Galatians 5. Eugene Peterson’s MESSAGE translates verses 22-23 this way. The fruit of the spirit is “1. affection for others, 2. exuberance about life, 3. serenity…4. a willingness to stick with things, 5. a sense of compassion, 6. a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. . .” 7. being “involved in loyal commitments, 8. not needing to force our way in life, 9. able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”

Another motivational idea would be to read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and ask the Lord what he wants you to do about it. Pick one thing.

The Word tells us we are to “Put on the whole armor of God that (we) may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11)  Proverb ll: 17 in the Message says,  “Moral character makes for smooth traveling; an evil life is a hard life.”

In 2012  a bit of creativity, of newness, of thoughtfulness and work on character and beauty will be a blessing to all. Happy New Year!            [RuthAnn]

A bit of beauty comes to Call on Christmas Eve

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4 Responses to Inspired to Dress It Up: A Warming New Year’s Stew

  1. Diane Rutledge Hazel says:

    The sibling, otherwise known as “little sister” is headed out tomorrow to get ingredients for this stew! By the way, we do know about one kind of stew in Texas — but we call it CHILI! With NO Beans!!! (Although I have “extended” my chili when caught by surprise with extra mouths for dinner and added corn and black beans.)

    • ruthann1 says:

      Dear Sister, Yay! I pray the Stew will be a blessing to you. And yes, I know about the Texas Stew: Chili without beans. Yum! RuthAnn

  2. Suzanne Hanna says:

    I sure enjoyed your blog, Ruth Ann! Thanks so much! Suzanne

    • ruthann1 says:

      Dear Suzanne, I’m so glad you logged in. May the essay on “Dressing It Up” continue to be a blessing to you. See you soon! RuthAnn

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