THE Best Apple Butter and Beef Stew

Yes, I am tooting my own horn here; but, I am sick and working on making myself feel better.

We’ll start with the apple butter.

I’ve wanted to make this for a long time, and with apple orchards out here you can’t help but trip over, this appeared to be the time. It turned out spectacular: sweet, sharp, aromatic, and roundly apple. I froze just under a quart, having eaten the rest.

Recipe:

-4 lbs. crisp, ripe cooking apples, diced whole. For best flavor, use variety.

-1 c. cider vinegar

-zest of 1 medium orange, juice of half the orange

-1/2 c. sugar per cup puree

-1 tsp. cinnamon.

– 1/2 tsp. ground cloves and allspice

Cut apples into chunks, including peel, seeds, and cores (discard stems). Place apples, vinegar, and orange rind in thick-bottomed pot (flatter is better), and bring to a boil. Continue boil for 20-40 minutes, until apples are soft. Strain apples through a food mill to remove skins and seeds. Measure resulting puree back into pot, adding 1/2 cup sugar for each cup of puree. Bring to a simmer, stirring often, until puree is smoothe and buttery. This will take about 2 hours. Cool, and freeze or can as desired.

—–

Tonight I did a wonderful beef stew, though no pics. You just can’t make traditional beef stew pretty.

-1.5 lbs. stew beef, trimed

-3/4 c. flour

-Following initial spices as desired: pepper, chili powder, mustard seed, black smoked sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano.

-3 tbs. oil

-6 cloves garlic

-2 medium carrots, chunked

-3 medium potatoes, chunked

-1/2 c. roasted corn

-Peas, celery, or other vegetables as desired

-3 c. beef broth

-1 c. dry wine

-3 tbs. butter

-2 tsp. crushed rosemary

-1 tsp. crushed thyme

-1/2 tsp. ground savory

-additional salt and pepper to taste

-Combine flour and initial spices in large plastic bag, add stew meat, and shake until meat is well coated. Heat oil in heavy skillet/dutch, preferably cast iron, oven over medium-high heat. Brown stew meat lightly, then add onions and garlic. Cook for an additional 4 minutes, then add remaining ingredients and bring to a low boil. Turn down heat and allow to simmer for at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The longer you let this simmer, for up to about 4 hours, the better. Add additional broth or wine if necessary. Serve with biscuits & apple butter, or over hearty noodles.

Great dish for a cool day.

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