One of the sad truths about the writing/editing process is that weight gain is inevitable! Unless you are chained to a chair at your local library, you will probably find yourself no more than a few yards from temptation—that juicy Dove bar you’ve hidden in the freezer or the lemony pastry from the shiny case at Starbucks.
Because so much of my creative process involves my sweet tooth, I wanted to share this recipe for the beef stew Wolf serves Abby in Chapter 11. Yep, the one with the secret ingredient, unsweetened cocoa, the shortcut to Abby’s heart. When you make this dish, you might want to be trapped, as Abby and Wolf were, in a cozy cabin during a snowstorm. You know what they say about the seductive power of chocolate.
Wolf Olsen’s Incredible Beef Stew
2-3 pounds stew beef
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 T vegetable oil
2 ½ cups water
1 cup red cooking wine
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves peeled, chopped garlic
1 large can peeled whole tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, sliced
2 carrots, sliced in rounds
1 t. salt
½ t. freshly ground pepper
½ t. ground chili pepper (more if you’re so inclined)
¼ c. unsweetened cocoa and 2 t. sugar
dash of cinnamon
dash of ground cumin
Brown meat in oil until medium rare only. Add all ingredients except carrots and simmer for an hour. Remove bay leaf, add carrots and cook another half hour. Add or subtract water/wine to your taste. Thicken gravy before serving with a little flour if necessary. Serve over noodles or rice with your favorite tossed salad. And, like Wolf, wait for the magical results!