As we’ve been venturing into the world of cooking, baking, and delicious nerd treat making, this past Christmas several of us here at 6NerdyChicks have received some amazing nerd themed cookbooks. There are so many cookbooks based on some awesome fandoms, but one in particular all of you Outlander fans would love is Outlander Kitchen, the official Outlander cookbook that Melody received for Christmas! It’s awesome because of (duh) Outlander, but also because Scottish food is so delicious! So we decided to prepare one of the savory dishes from this cookbook!
This cookbook had a ton of recipes, some of which aren’t that accessible because some of the ingredients they call for are difficult to get depending on where you live. However, this gypsy stew had easily accessible ingredients and seemed reasonably easy!
What’s awesome about each of the recipes is that they all include a passage from Diana Gabaldon’s books which discusses the recipe in question. We don’t want to spoil the show for you, so we won’t describe which part of the story this comes from, but the passage does discuss the gypsies that made it and a little bit of the stew, saying:
“It was warm and companionable in the caravan where we ate; men and women and children all ate casually from bowls, sitting wherever they could find space, dipping the succulent stew with chunks of bread. It was the best food I had had in weeks…”
Just the description of the caravan really captures the essence of this amazing stew. It is flavorful, warm, and inviting, and while Claire describes Murtagh as having “dour speculations as to the basic nature of the beast that provided the stew meat,” this particular recipe was pretty darned delicious.
*note that we did amend some things to suit our own taste and skills (and pocketbooks). For example, instead of using fresh herbs, we went with the herbs in our spice rack!*
- 2-3 lbs of bottom round roast or stew beef
- ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp of flour
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 medium leeks
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 large cloves garlic
- 1 ½ cups stout or other dark beer
- 1 bunch kale
- 3 medium carrots
- 1 small turnip
- ½ small rutabaga (yellow turnip)
- 1 tsp thyme (or 2 sprigs of fresh thyme)
- 2 tsp rosemary (or 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary)
- 2 bay leaves
- 4-6 cups of brown chicken or beef stock
- 2 tbsp butter
Prepare your ingredients. Cut your beef into approximately 2-inch cubes; if you got a bottom round roast, you’ll also need to cut out the fat cap. Then, mince the garlic cloves, stem and shred the kale, cut your carrots and turnips into approximately 1 inch cubes/pieces. Then, peel and cut the rutabaga into 1 inch cubes as well.
Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Then, in a large bowl, combine ¼ cup flour, salt, ground pepper, and cayenne pepper. Toss the beef int he flour until the cues are lightly coated on all sides.
In a stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Then brown the beef in batches, being sure not to overcrowd the pot, until the beef has a dark golden crust all over (2-3 minutes per side should do the trick).
Once all of the beef has been browned and removed from the pot, add the leeks, garlic, and stout. Scrape the brown bits from the beef with a wooden spoon, and boil it all for 3 minutes.Then, add the meat, kale, carrots, turnips, rutabaga, herbs. Then add the stock to cover the ingredients. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until the meat is fork tender (about 90 minutes).
If you used fresh herbs, remove them from the stew at this point (and the bay leaves too!). Just before serving, use a fork to blend together the remaining 2 tbsp of flour with the butter. Stir this “beurre manié,” which is basically a form of soup thickener (yes, we had to look it up) into the hot stew and cook for another 5-7 minutes, until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
Be sure to plan accordingly! You have to remember that it’s called a stew for a reason: you need time to let it stew!
Also, at first we were a suspicious about the fact that this stew did not include any potatoes. But apparently, (according to the book) potatoes weren’t introduced to the highlands until the end of the eighteenth century. But we became even more suspicious when the recipe replaces potatoes with turnips and rutabagas. However, these ingredients gave the stew such a unique flavor profile and broadened our root veggie horizons!
We didn’t make a bread to go with this stew (as the quote from the book described) but we surely wish we had! There were some really delicious bread recipes in the book, but we’re sure any savory roll or bread would be great with this stew!