OMG remember this dude?

My dad used to do this most excellent impression of the Swedish Chef. The only downside was that while he was doing it, he felt the need to squish my face into a million different weirder-looking faces and then laugh his ass off. SO unfun.

Speaking of parenting (if that's what you wanna call it), when I was growing up my mum used to make a big pot of stew on Sunday and keep it on the cold back porch all week long for meals. Yes, by Friday you'd be patently sick of stew (and I don't even know what patently means in that context) but it was a great way to make a lot out of very little, which is really the challenge of a well-lived life, if you think about it.

Mum's stews were always sans meat because she's a veg. But I am a blood-guzzling carnivore. I would eat you if I could get away with it. Raw. So I thought I'd try my hand at beef stew:

Beefy Stew

2lbs or so of stew beef (depending on how many people you are cooking for)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
glug of vegetable oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 potatoes, chopped
1 parsnip, chopped
1 turnip, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cups beef stock
1 cup red wine (optional)
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs rosemary or thyme

Preheat a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Pat the beef chunks dry with a clean paper towel and season with salt and pepper.

Add the glug of oil to the bottom of the pot, enough to cover the entire bottom with a thin layer. Place one layer of beef chunks at a time to brown. Sear meat on all sides until it is entirely browned. Once meat is cooked, add half of the vegetables, beef stock and wine if using. Add the bay leaves and rosemary or thyme, and bring the pot to a simmer.

Continue cooking for about an hour until the meat is tender. Then add the remaining vegetables. Continue simmering for another 30 minutes. When finished, season to taste.

Totally heats you up on a cold day, from the inside out. And it makes a completely affordable week-long meal alongside bread or salad for cents a day (that is, if you happen to live by yourself. If you have a family it will be gone sooner). Yes, by the end of the week you do get kinda sick of it, but if that happens just freeze the rest and make something new!