Winter is not a good time to go outside to gather for a family meal. However, if you’re like me, by the end of February I have cabin fever. So those that have 3 season patios or even a screen in porch, are the lucky ones that can move outside for a grand winter picnic. The secret Is to add a family table, a few heaters and wrap heated rocks in cloth napkins for hand warmers. Throw in some candles and cozy throws and your ready for a winter family gathering. Outdoor gatherings can be comfortable year-round with a little extra planning. Cozy bonfires take the place of summertime’s barbecues, and ice-cold beers are swapped for hot festive sippers.
When we lived in Montana, it was a time of winter snows and cold. But with a covered screened in porch on the back of the old red cabin, we had some wonderful fun family gatherings with neighbors around a fireplace. Eating hearty stews, warm bread, green salads and hot toddies. We would laugh, sing, gossip, and play board games. I was a wonderful way to get through the winter season.
Hearty Western Bison Stew
Because of federal laws and industry regulations, most bison meat sold in the U.S. is raised without antibiotics and hormones. Environmentalists also say that grass-fed bison is a more sustainable meat choice than beef because bison keep the ecosystem in check through grazing and produce less greenhouse gas than cows. Bison meat has fewer calories, way less fat, and more protein than ground beef. It’s also rich in iron, zinc, vitamin B12, omega 3-fats, and the antioxidant selenium.
- 1⁄2 All purpose flour mixed with salt and pepper seasonings
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 lbs boneless beef chuck cut into 1 1⁄2″ cubes
- 2 large yellow onions sliced
- 1⁄4 cup Red wine vinegar
- 2 carrots peeled and thinly sliced
- For cloves garlic minced
- 1 1⁄2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 4th cup tomato paste
- 14 teaspoon dried thyme
- 10 sun dried tomatoes soap and water to cover for 20 minutes drain and quarter
- 3 parsnips peeled and cut into 3/4″ chunks
- 1 lb small boiling potatoes cut into 3⁄4″ chunks
- 10 oz frozen per onions thought and drained
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Goodbye in the flour salt and pepper into a large bowl. In a large Deep nonstick frying pan over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Dust the beef with the flower shaking off excess. Add the to the pan and batches and brown evenly and all sides. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pain over medium high heat. Add the onions and saute until soft. Add the vinegar and continue so the until caramelized. Add the carrots and saute until nearly tinder. Add the garlic and saute for a minute more. Add the bra wine tomato paste time And sun dried tomatoes. Add the broth. Raise the heat and bring it to a boil. Return Beef to pan, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, staring occasionally. About an hour for the meat to be almost tender.
- Add the parsnips and potatoes, cover, and continue to simmer until both the vegetables and the meat are tender. Add the per onions and cook until tender. Address the seasonings. If the sauce is then raised the heat and reduced for a few minutes.
- Spoon the stew into a large serving bowl or platter garnish with parsley and serve.
Serve with a simple Taco salad and warm tortillas or crusty bread.
Keep your drinks simple. For the kids, pour hot chocolate in individual jars and pair with single-serve ramekins filled with marshmallows and peppermint sticks. For the booze-drinking set, pour a swig of bourbon in a small mason jar, add hot apple cider and a cinnamon stick, then shake for the easiest-ever hot toddy. Be sure to label lids with Sharpie so the kids don’t accidentally get into the adult beverages.