Back in 1992, Ottawa-based Trillium Cooking School owner Pam Collacott and Canadian Living food editor Elizabeth Baird assisted Peter Gzowski at the Ottawa International Wine & Food Show where, as master teacher, he prepared Peter's Favourite Stew. Previous to the cooking class, The Canadian Living Test Kitchen has taken his charming instructions (no measurements) and converted them into the tested recipe you see below. Later, at the behest of one of Peter's fans, we also tried the recipe with caribou and found it worked exactly the same as beef, and, what is so important, was received with acclaim by members of the test kitchen and our guests. Of course Peter poo pooed the idea of measuring and suggested times, but when you want to reproduce the taste that won his stew so many fans, you can't go wrong with a well tested recipe.
- Portion size 6 servings
Trim excess fat from meat; cut into 1-1/2 inch (4 cm) cubes. In large bowl, combine 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the flour with pepper; add meat and toss to coat.
In large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, heat butter and oil over medium high heat. Brown beef in batches; set aside on plate.
Add onions, leeks and garlic; cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes or until softened. Add oregano, basil, bay leaf and remaining 1/4 cup (50 mL) flour; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
Pour in beef broth, water and sherry, stirring to scrape up brown bits from bottom of pan; bring to boil. Return meat to pan along with carrots and tomatoes; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
Add parsnips and potatoes and cook, partially covered, for 45 to 60 minutes or until meat and vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper.