Oh it’s such a wonderful sound to hear yippees and exclamations of delight from my middle son when he sees his dinner. Those of you who’ve read my blog regularly would know that this is a rare occurrence, it’s often the opposite reaction. But yesterday I made a dinner that he’d requested the week before, and one that I never knew he liked that much until last night when he saw the bowl of steaming stew. I made a family recipe, one that my mother learned while living in Switzerland from my German father’s mother. We’ve always called it Eintopf, which means “one pot” and my Oma also called it “Wirsingkohl” for the type of cabbage (Savoy) that is in it. To me it is the ultimate comfort food, to my husband it took him a few times to like it.
My kids love it. I think what food you grow up with can influence you later on in life. Some people who say their mother (or father) was a terrible cook but remember fondly a dish she made and can get nostalgic about it even if it wasn’t the best they’ve ever had— they may still prefer it done the way Mom made it.
For instance, I like marmite and vegemite, I grew up eating it from a young age, whereas most American’s would think the savory spread gross. My kids also like marmite (preferred over vegemite) because I’ve been giving it to them since they were able to eat toast. I think this is true with many foods especially vegetables but it’s not necessarily a done deal. My husband too likes marmite as did my father, both of whom didn’t eat it until they were adults. I guess I’m trying to say that it’s never to late to try to introduce new foods. Our tastes can change and we may be more open to new foods at various times and under particular circumstances. I think not forcing the issue helps get children, even older ones, to try new things. Again, cook what you know (healthy things, please), introduce family recipes, things you’ve enjoyed or something with a story— and eat with them. Show them. Don’t force it and you may be surprised when the pickiest one, shouts with joy over something you’ve made.
Eintopf (One Pot Beef Stew)
· 1-2 lbs stew beef (chuck), trimmed and cut into cubes
· 1 large onion
· 1 large Savoy cabbage, rinsed and shredded
· 5 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
· 2 Tbsp caraway seeds
· 2 cups beef stock (or beef bouillon)
· salt and pepper to taste
· 1 cup flour
· 3 Tbsp olive oil
· 2 bay leaves
My mother always made this in a pressure cooker, but I make mine in a slow cooker. Both need to sauté onions and brown the beef first, but once that’s done just add everything to slow cooker. Pressure cooker and stove is cooked in stages.
In a large bowl, season flour with salt and pepper. Add beef and coat all sides then set aside. In sauté pan, cook onion in 1 Tbsp olive oil then add to slow cooker. Brown floured meat in 1 Tbsp olive oil- might need to do in lots of 2 or 3 so as to not overcrowd the pan. Once browned on all sides, add to slow cooker. Add stock, caraway seeds, potatoes then cabbage on top (cabbage doesn’t need to be in liquid). Salt and pepper to taste. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8. Meet should be tender and fall apart with a fork. Serve in bowls with a spoon.
Honestly it is one of our family favorites. Eyes light up and smiles abound when this is served. I hope you all have one dish that elicits such a response. It makes me happy that I can make them something that is healthy and they all like.