Momma's Fall Stew

As a child in my hometown of Upper Black Eddy, the smell of wood smoke filled the air as the weather turned bitterly cold and like always, as the season change, so do my cravings, and theres nothing like my mom's cooking. My all time favorite meal she makes is her fall stew. I would come home cold and hungry after school and a big bowl of stew would always set me right. Obviously this dish is super sentimental for me but it is also a big hit with my friends. It is a very basic and simple stew but has great depth of flavor is easy to whip up and perfect for cold weather. I hope this becomes a favorite in your family too.


BY BEA BRIGGS This is an excellent flexible recipe. It was given to me by my friend Leila. She had given me a large pot of it right after our first child was born and as exhausted new parents, what a delight it was to open the fridge & find these leftovers. I treasure the scribbled recipe she gave me & I have continued the tradition of giving this to new parents, friends in need & neighbors. But it feeds a crowd of about 6 hungry people, usually with leftovers, so it is great when ever the seasons change!

Momma's Fall Stew

3 pound Brisket (or chuck roast)

6 cups water

1 bottle red wine

1 can tomatoes(12 oz) ( sauce, puree, paste or can )

3-4 onions roughly, chopped

5-6 cloves garlic, chopped

4-6 carrots, chopped into 2 inch discs

1 pound mushrooms(button), quartered

4-6 red potatoes quartered (if small leave whole, be sure all are the same size so they cook evenly)

3 tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt, pepper, herbes, bay leaf, to taste


In a large pot with lid, over medium high heat, add olive oil. Salt & pepper meat well on both sides. Sear in pot, on both sides & remove from pot. Add chopped onions & garlic to the pot & saute until golden. Return meat back to pot and add water, wine and tomatoes, being sure that the meat is covered. Add bay leaf & favorite herbs such as  herbes de provence e or a basil/oregano mix. Season wtih salt pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low simmer. You can also put in oven at 350, if your pot is oven proof. Cook for one hour. Remove meat & slice into 1/4 inch long slices. Return meat to pot and add carrots, mushrooms & potatoes. Cover and cook for an additional hour on low heat. Taste and add more salt & pepper, if needed.

Momma's notes

As you can tell this is a very flexible recipe. The measurements are not exact, if you like more wine, I have added a whole bottle, sometimes I have used just water & tomato sauce. Other times water, wine & a little tomato. So what ever you have on hand will make the liquid ( I have even used V-8 juice). The acid in the wine & tomato helps break down the meat. You just want the meat to be covered by liquid. This was traditionally made with 1st cut brisket, which has more fat running through it & made a nice roast out of a cheaper piece of meat. If you like carrots more than mushrooms add more, ditto with potatoes. This is a pretty fail proof recipe, so after you make it a few times you get it. Use what you have & like. It gets better each day, as the flavors work. I like to serve it with green beans or sautéed kale and don't forget the sour cream!


Spiced Sweet Potato Bisque


Soup always makes a rough day right. I have been working tirelessly on many a food project and by the time I roll home in the wee hours of the night, nothing does me right like a solid bowl of sweet potato bisque. I have recently fell in love with steaming veggies like squash and potatoes. I find that it gives you more control of the texture, in that you can easily check on them, you use half the water you would when boiling and you get an awesome concentrated stock out of the process! This soup is super easy and can be taken in any direction. I decided to add a little protein and used a chicken stock, but it can easily be vegetarian. I also went for really aromatic spices and suspect that this would also make a great curry. 

Spiced Sweet Potato Bisque  

3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered

5 cups stock (vegetable or chicken) 

3 gloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup cream

1 teaspoons of turmeric, curry, cinnamon, cumin, chili powder

salt & pepper to taste

In a large pot with a steam basket, boil roughly 3 cups of water. Add quartered sweet potatoes and steam until tender, about 5-10 minutes. Remove basket and keep remaining liquid. Add potatoes and mash until smooth. Add cream and bring to a simmer. Season to taste and and top with garnish.  

Suggested Toppings

2 apples, diced

1 large onion, diced

cooked ground turkey or your favorite sausage

In a skillet sauté apples and onions until golden. 



Garden Tomato Gazpacho

Gazpacho is one of those dishes that reminds me that summer is in full swing. Ruby red tomatoes are everywhere, and in the Italian market people are practically giving them away. My garden has been bursting with this luscious gems and I'm doing my best to keep up with my eight gigantic plants.

There is simply nothing more satisfying or simple to prepare on a hot day than a cold bowl of summer veggies. Gazpacho is one of those dishes that is great way to clean out your fridge of any left over farm share veggies. This week we got some wonderful cucumbers, green bell peppers, and tomatoes from Lancaster Farm Fresh. Throw everything in the food processor and voilà! You've got summer in a bowl! 

Garden Tomato Gazpacho

6 ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks

1/2 large cucumber—peeled, halved, seeded and cut into chunks

1 green bell pepper, cut into chunks

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 cup water

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar


1 cup chilled steamed summer corn

Sriracha & basil, for serving

 In a food processor, combine tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, garlic and water and puree until smooth. Slowly add olive oil, vinegar and salt. Serve or refrigerate for 30 minutes. Top with summer corn, basil, fresh olive oil and sriracha. Enjoy!