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Rachael Ray: Just in Time
Who needs a Crock-Pot? Here you get all the slow-cooked, earthy flavor of an all-day stew—without the all-day commitment.
Serves 4


• 2 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil), twice around the pan
• 2 pounds sirloin shell steak, trimmed and chopped into bite-size pieces
• Salt and black pepper
• 2 carrots, peeled and sliced on an angle
• 4 parsnips, peeled and sliced on an angle
• 4 shallots, peeled and quartered
• 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
• 12 dried apricots, coarsely chopped
• 8 dried figs, coarsely chopped
• A handful of dried cranberries
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1 quart (4 cups) beef stock
• 8 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
• 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (eyeball it)
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, a generous handful
• 3 tablespoons fresh chives, snipped or chopped
• 1/2 cup smoked almonds, chopped
• Toasted whole-grain bread or rolls
• Softened butter

Heat the EVOO in a large, deep skillet or stew pot over high heat. When the oil ripples, add the beef and brown it all over, 6 to 7 minutes.

Season liberally with salt and pepper, then add the vegetables and bay leaves to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes to begin to soften the vegetables. Add the dried fruits, Worcestershire, and beef stock. Mix well, then stir in the sage and allspice. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the dried fruits are plump and the vegetables tender.

Adjust the salt and pepper to taste and remove the bay leaves.

Serve the stew in shallow bowls and top with the parsley, chives, and smoked almonds. Pass bread and butter at the table.


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