I love sweet potatoes, but my family doesn't generally enjoy them unless they are fried. While my kids love broccoli and peas, there is something about sweet potatoes that they just don't like. So when I first made this stew, I didn't tell anyone that it had sweet potatoes in it. They all just assumed the orange pieces were carrots.
I watched with anticipation to see if anyone would make a face or complain that they didn't like the soup.... nope. Both of my kids consumed it with glee! Now everyone knows there are sweet potatoes in the stew and no one minds. They all eat it anyway. And me? I love, love, love this stew! It is my new favorite stew.
This stew cooks up rather quickly thanks to the use of ground beef instead of beef roast or stew meat. Just 35-40 minutes and dinner is on the table!
Ground Beef, Sweet Potato, and Veggie Stew
2 Tb butter, preferably from grassfed cows
one large yellow or white organic onion
2 stalks organic celery
3-4 medium organic carrots
1&1/2 pounds ground beef, preferably from grassfed cows
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried thyme OR 1.5 tsp fresh thyme
3.5 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
2 cups filtered water (or use more broth is using store-bought since the flavor of storebought broth is much more mild than homemade broth)
2 medium organic Garnet sweet potatoes
2 medium organic Yukon Gold potatoes
celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper
frozen organic green peas (optional)
Chop the onion. Melt the butter in a 4- or 6-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onion and bay leaf, sprinkle with a bit of salt, and saute for 5 minutes. A bamboo spatula works great for putting this recipe together.
In the meantime, chop the celery and carrots. Then add them to the pot and saute for 5 more minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Crumble the ground beef into the pot. Sprinkle with 1&1/2 tsp salt and about 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper. Add the cumin and thyme. Stir to combine with the veggies. Increase the heat to medium-high and brown the meat for a few minutes. (There is no need to fully cook the beef during this step.)
In the meantime, peel and chop the potatoes and sweet potatoes. (I love my Rada vegetable peeler.) I leave the peel on one of the Yukon Golds and remove the peel from both of the sweet potatoes. Since the sweet potatoes can oxidize (turn brown) rather quickly once peeled, chop them last and throw then straight into the pot.
Add the broth, water, and potatoes to the pot. Bring to a low boil and skim the foam. Discard the foam.
Reduce the heat to bring the pot to a low simmer. Scoop out a bit of the broth and taste to see if any more salt or pepper are needed. Cover the pot and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are fully cooked.Turn off heat.
Since my kids love green peas, I add a few frozen peas to their bowls before serving. These thaw nicely once the stew is added, and they also help cool the stew down to the perfect temperature for eating. My husband and I prefer this soup without the peas.
Ladle into bowls and serve!