The weather dictates our menus. Living in Montreal, we can only survive the winter with lots of soups, stews and slow cooked meals on the stove or in the oven while over the hot and terribly humid days of summer require lots of salad and refreshing dairy or fruit based cool desserts.
Spring and fall can be tricky though, just last week, the temperatures started rising and I started making my classic spring dishes and a few short days later, it felt like winter was right back. Cold, windy, dark and rainy days are perfect for a hearty stew. I was planning on making a simple meat stew but then the roasted, peeled and packaged chestnuts sitting in the pantry caught my attention. Chestnuts are one of my favorite ingredients both for sweet and savoury dishes and not having to wash, cut, roast and peel them makes weeknight dinner preparation a lot easier.
- 1 ½ lbs. steaks cut into cubes or stewing beef
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
- 1 28 oz. canned diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ cups pearl onions, peeled (I used frozen)
- 2 cups roasted, peeled chestnuts
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large pot, brown the meat on all sides, transfer to a plate, add the onion to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, add the bell pepper and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, return the meat to the pot, add the tomatoes and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper, simmer over medium low heat until the meat is tender, add the pearl onions and chestnuts, continue cooking for another 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve piping hot with crusty sourdough bread and a salad.