Provencal Stew & Parmesan-Walnut Biscotti

by Anne Bennett on December 10, 2012

Slow Cooker Provencal-Style Stew served with savory Parmesan-Walnut biscotti. From Weight Watchers, no less!

Weight Watchers recently introduced a new cookbook in the WW meeting rooms. (Books offered at WW locations are not available in retail bookstores, and vice versa.)

I own more than my share of cookbooks, but I was enticed by this edition. It doesn’t have the look of a diet cookbook. There are very few, if any, ersatz/fat-free/diet ingredients, and that suits me fine. I’ve been watching my weight for the better part of 50 years, and one thing I’ve learned is that diet foods, like fat-free sour cream and mayonnaise, leave me flat.

I believe in moderation. Wow, don’t sound like I’ve got my act together! Alas, I cannot lie about something so close to my achy-breaky heart. Moderation has been a life-long bugaboo, the bane of much of my existence. I have come by my newfound wisdom only by suffering through decades of push-me-pull-me splurging and dieting, never getting it right, never feeling comfortable with the subject, let alone the reality, of food. It was always all or nothing.

Until now. Now I know that I  can eat real food, so long as I don’t apply the old rules of feasting aplenty and then paying the piper later by depriving myself. Yuck. What a drag that was!

So, back to the new cookbook, aptly named, “Turn up the Flavor.” Without any further ado, here is the recipe that Whitman smelled yesterday simmering in the slow cooker. And there’s an added bonus!  I gifted a copy of the book to friend Suzi, who is an excellent cook. Over the weekend she made the savory Parmesan-Walnut biscotti and shared them with me. They are crunchy, cheesy and delicious, the perfect accompaniment to beef stew. Click here for the biscotti recipe.

Provencal-Style Beef Stew

1 pound lean beef (top or bottom round), trimmed and cut into 1″ chunks
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, thickly sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 cup dry red wine
4 (3-inch) strips orange zest
1 t. dried thyme
3/4 t. salt
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
1 T. olive oil
1 pound mixed mushrooms, halved
1/2 cup pitted nicoise olives

Combine beef, onion, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, wine, orange zest, thyme, salt, red pepper flakes and bay leaves in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook 4-5 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.

About 20 minutes before cooking time is up, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet and saute mushrooms until browned and most of their liquid has evaporated.

Stir mushrooms and olives into stew and cook on high until mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes longer. Remove orange strips and bay leaves and serve.

Serves 6 (each serving about 1 1/2 cups)

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