Vegetable (mostly root veggies) and beef stew (called Ühepajatoit or 'One pot meal' in Estonian) is one of the staple meals of the Estonian cuisine. It's a quintessential Estonian meal one might say - rustic, simple to make, relatively bland etc. It is usually prepared in a large pot by boiling /stewing it slowly or a special slow-cooker or pressure cooker. And it usually isn't considered any kind of delicacy. It's the type of thing that was served in the kindergarten and school cafeteria and usually preceded by a whole day of yucky smells of cooking turnips that later on swam in a pale and tasteless broth with some fatty strips of meat.
And after this enticing introduction - I really felt like making it after the holidays. It seemed like a perfect wintery detox meal after all the overindulging. Obviously mine was nice - still rustic and still easy to make, but definitely not bland and I steered clear of smelly old turnips :).
Vegetable and beef stew (Ühepajatoit):
2 medium potatoes
1 large carrot
a bit of cabbage (~ 1/6 of a smallish cabbage)
a potato-sized bit of wild parsnip
a potato-sized bit of wild celery (root celery)
1 big red onion
2 big cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of sunflower oil
a very generous bunch of fresh herbs - parsley, wide leaf parsley and dill
200 - 300 gr of strogonov beef strips
1 osso-bucco chop
sea salt and freshly ground pepper for seasoning
1/2 - 1 glass of tomato juice
Wash, peel and cut up the vegetables into relatively big (but similar in size) pieces.
Slice the onion and chop the garlic and the herbs.
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Heat the oil on a large skillet and quickly brown the beef, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the chopped garlic.
Mix the vegetables and the herbs. Lay the beef on the bottom of an oven-pot and cover with the mixed vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour in 1/2 glass of tomato juice.
Cover with the lid and cook for 1 - 1 1/2 hours until the meat is completely tender and the osso-bucco falls off the bone. If necessary (looks dry) pour in the second half of the tomato juice while checking on it while it's cooking.
It's light, juicy, healthy, warm. Everything you'd want from a humane version of a detox meal after the holidays.