CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Slow Cooker Hamburger Stew

Fall can be a bittersweet time of the year for gardeners. Those who grow flowers and vegetables see what they’ve been caring for since late spring slowly — or quickly in the case of a hard frost — dying off.

A couple of things can ease the pain a bit — the flower pots we bring in for the winter and the veggies that we’ve frozen or canned.

Therese and I do both. An old kitchen table that sits in our panty underneath a grow light is the home for more than a dozen plants, some of which continue to bloom inside while the daylight outside grows shorter and shorter until Dec. 21, the winter solstice.

And we always have plenty of  tomatoes, carrots, pickles, sauerkraut, jelly, jam and other veggies and fruits preserved through canning as well as other goodies vacuumed sealed in one of our freezers.

But before we get into the cold and snowy season, we always enjoy a few fall meals with fresh veggies, like the following one for a slow cooker stew that stars carrots, potatoes and onions from our garden.

Of course, we’ll be able to make this dish in the dead of winter, but things always seem to taste better shortly after the veggies have been harvested.

And that, my friends, can take some of the sting out of the changing of seasons.

Slow Cooker Hamburger Stew
1 pound ground beef (or ground bison)
4 or 5 carrots, cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks
8 to 10 small potatoes
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups beef broth or gravy
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown burger and drain. Place in slow cooker with remaining ingredients. Cook on high for about 6 hours. Serve with hard rolls.

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