When I was a kid, I was a total book nerd (in all honesty, I’m still a total book nerd, although I no longer have hours and hours to hide with a book, at least not without feeling massive amounts of guilt). When I was 6 or 7, this was my favorite book in the entire universe:

If you’re not familiar with it, it’s about a family of orphaned children who find an abandoned boxcar and adopt it as their home. It was, like, the ultimate in playing house. I relished all the little details–dumpster diving for silverware and then scrubbing the rust off with sand, building a “swimming pool” in the creek by the boxcar, making a stew in the woods with beef and some garden vegetables. Looking back, when I read this book, it was the first time I was completely captivated by the story of food and cooking. I had never really eaten stew before (at least not stew that didn’t come from a can), but I was completely taken with this idea of something wholesome and delicious cooked with something practical like baby garden vegetables and some meat bought after a hard day’s work.

Fast forward a few years–after my mom died and my dad remarried, we did eat a lot of beef stew. In fact, this recipe was our standard Sunday dinner–everything would go into the Dutch oven and then into the oven before we went to church and when we got home 3 hours later, it would be ready. When we had it with whole wheat bread and butter and milk to drink, it seriously fulfilled my Boxcar Children vision of delicious wholesomeness.
I’ve changed the old standard a little–added some (a lot of) garlic, substituted V8 for tomato juice and beef bouillon instead of just salt. But really, it’s all the same: something easy, nourishing, and delicious that just about everybody loves.

Now…this is super tricky. Preheat oven to 350. Combine ingredients in a large oven-safe pot that comes with an oven-safe lid.
Cook in heated oven for 3 hours. Remove from oven and serve. Awesome, huh?

You can also cook this in your slow cooker on low for 9-10 hours (or until vegetables and meat are tender) or on high for 5-6.
Serve with a loaf of French bread or homemade rolls and some honey butter.
Be sure to stick with us over the next few weeks because we have some fabulous Thanksgiving ideas coming up! Have a great weekend!
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