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There really is nothing better then a good beef stew. Throughout the summer the barbeque is the king of dinner. As the weather cool the crock pot comes out and the beef stew start too cook.

In small towns all across America after WW II children shared bedrooms with siblings. Whole families shared one bathroom. Some families had a car. If dad drove off in it every morning he would take mom and the family to the stores on Saturday. In northern towns where there were commuter trains into the city, women, still in their robes and slippers, took husbands to the station to catch the 6:45. Dads on trains and buses had time for the paper and easy beef stew even read books.



Din Tai Fong is a restaurant simple beef stew chain known for their xiao long bao or mini steamed pork soup dumplings. Din Tai Fong is all over the world, I know of two in Taiwan, one in California, a few in Japan and Mainland China and of course, one special one in Hong Kong.

I also get inspired by recipes that call for a new or rarely used flavorings--as with this morning's stew recipe. I would normally default to parsley and thyme for a stew. But Julee Rosso's recipe for Beef Stew with Eggplant (from Great Good Food, p. 487) had me combining coriander and paprika with cinnamon, allspice and cayenne pepper! Who wudda thunk that such a wild combination would make such an intriguingly delicious stew?

Note: I did not include the 10 hour slow cooking time into the overall 'recipe time' because once the slow cooker is turned on, you don't have to do anything until it's done and ready to eat (except clean up and wash all your dishes!). Since you can do other things during those 10 hours (like sleep or go to work), the 10 hours are omitted. I usually make the stew Sunday evening and have it ready for Monday morning.

There are a few ingredients that make my beef stew scrumptious enough to come back to time and time again. How did I come across these ingredients? They were definitely not handed to me from an all natural, gluten-free recipe box. This one required blood, sweat, and tears. Countless failed recipes and years of trying to experiment finally produced this mouthwatering recipe.

The final meal was simple slow cooker chicken soup and chicken meatballs slow cooked together with soft wheat. Now I tasted leather, chocolate, and pepper. The wine was more complex than can usually be expected in this price range. But at the end it was thin and somewhat sour. I tasted it with a high-quality, French style, very buttery and lemony lemon pie right out of the freezer. Get this, the wine tasted of cherries.

The Portsmouth Brewery is located on 56 Market Street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. They are open seven days a week from 11:30 A.M. until 12:30 at night. It is defiantly a causal dressy type of place to go with a great relaxing upbeat happy atmosphere. The wait staff, cooks, managers, and bar tenders at the Portsmouth Brewery are super friendly and very helpful and provide excellent service to all of their customers that go there for a cold brewed beer and some hot food.

So send out those easy beef stew food network and get ready for a great winter party. Your guests will be thrilled that you planned something fun and memorable to break up the cold weather blues.