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Autumn in Queensland and Port Wine Beef Stew

It is definitely Autumn here in Queensland, the ground carpeted with crunchy leaves and drifts of white feathers from our molting Muscovy ducks.

The cool weather plants are flourishing – hollyhocks, marigolds, calendula – and although the herbs are trying to flower and go to sleep for the winter, I nip the blossoms so they keep producing for a while longer. I want to have fresh basil, mint, and parsley for as long as possible.

We have a new rooster on our farm, and he’s a laid back, totally chill fellow named Adolf. He doesn’t do anything quickly, just moseys around, taking his time, except for the other day when he got a white plastic bag caught on one of his spurs and ran around like a lunatic trying to escape from this bag that was chasing him. I was doubled over laughing, trying to catch him so I could free him from his scary pursuer, but he was having none of it. Finally a gust of wind took the bag away and Adolf returned to his ambling ways as if nothing had happened.

I’ve spent time each morning sipping cinnamon espresso and nibbling pieces of maple shortbread as I make lists and dream dreams, sketching out diagrams for new gardens and a bigger pond, a flourishing orchard and a productive vineyard.

I also plan the foods I’m craving.

This week it was stew, a hearty, beefy, savory stew rich with ham, spiced with smoked paprika, and laced with dark port wine. After our first tastes Bear and I looked at each with wide eyes, declaring it, hands down, the best stew I’ve ever made. Just what we need as the nights turn cool and we get cozy over episodes of Murdoch, Psych, or Person of Interest.

What favorite foods best suit the weather you’re having in your part of the world? xo

Port Wine Beef Stew


2 Tbsp bacon fat or olive oil
2 onions, peeled, cored and diced
1 head garlic, peeled, trimmed and sliced
3/4 cup diced ham or bacon
3-4 cups cubed stew meat
2-3 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup port wine
4-5 carrots, trimmed, peeled and sliced
5 potatoes, cubed
small handful fresh parsley, chopped
small handful fresh thyme, leaves removed from stalk
3-4 cups beef stock
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce


  1. Heat bacon fat or olive oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and fry 3-5 minutes until they begin to caramelize. Add ham and stir.
  2. While ham cooks, place stew meat, flour, paprika, sea salt and pepper in large bowl and toss gently to coat.
  3. Add stew meat to frying pan and fry until outsides are beautifully browned.
  4. Scrape everything into slow cooker and deglaze the pan with port wine. Scrape wine and pan bits into slow cooker.
  5. Add carrots, potatoes, parsley and thyme and stir to combine.
  6. Pour over enough stock to barely cover, add Worcestershire sauce, stir gently to combine.
  7. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours until vegetables are cooked and meat is tender.
  8. Serve with fresh bread or a green salad.


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Autumn in Queensland and Port Wine Beef Stew - Travel Belles - […] Read more here: Rambling Tart […]

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Sosae - Excellent recipe! Thank you for sharing it! And everything is looking so lovely down there!

Krista - Oh good, @breannemosher:disqus 🙂 I hope it delights you like it did us. 🙂

Breanne @ This Vintage Moment - We have basically everything to make this stew, minus the port wine but a quick trip to the store will right that. It’s perfect for these last few weeks of winter. =)

Krista - Thank you, Gitte! It really was. 🙂

Krista - I’m a stew girl too, Tracy! 🙂

Gitte - What a good-looking stew Krista, I bet that was super delicious.

Tracy A. - Great pictures! I am a stew kind of gal – your recipe sounds wonderful!

Krista - Yes, I have a friend who hates roosters too. 🙂 Apparently childhood memories of being pecked turned him off for life. 🙂

Krista - I wish I could’ve videoed it too, Hotly Spiced. 🙂 It was such a hilarious thing to see. 🙂

Krista - Ohhh, the sunshine must be so fantastic after the winter, Lisa. 🙂 I sure understand about chasing dreams and not catching them. 🙂 I am finding peace in taking baby steps towards my dreams, it gives me courage to keep trying. XO

Hotly Spiced - Your stew looks very comforting and nourishing. I wish you’d captured your rooster and the plastic bag on video – it would have been a u-tube sensation! xx

lisa | renovating italy - We’ve just switched from hearty meals to a few salads and we are getting out in the sunshine. It’s still winter but one of the most mild ones for some years. Lucky Us thank goodness our first wasn’t too harsh. I love your rooster and funnily enough I can hear ours crowing away downstairs in the stables. Adolf sounds like a character and I remember our dog once chasing a plastic bag down the beach until we couldn’t see her anymore. A bit like I feel….lol chasing dreams down the beach and never quite catching them. xx

Cathy - Not exactly Krista (chooks and goats are preferable)… Goodie sounds like a good idea 🙂 It is amazing – my hubby’s soup (but I am biased) 🙂

Krista - I was wishing so much I had a video of it, @jenny_atasteoftravel:disqus 🙂

Krista - I’m glad I made it in time to still sound good, @joanneeatswellwithothers:disqus 🙂 Even two weeks ago I couldn’t fathom wanting stew, but the cooler weather is definitely here. 🙂

Krista - I don’t get to take credit for his name, @disqus_xRgkTDNCQJ:disqus 🙂 Our friends dubbed him Adolf and gave him to us. 🙂 He’s a lovely chap though. I do so hope Spring gets to your part of the world very soon. 🙂

Krista - They sure do, @disqus_Jw8DFomFS9:disqus 🙂 I like Adolf very much. 🙂

Krista - Oh my goodness, you make Lent sound so delicious, @rachelfriesen:disqus 🙂 I’m glad you’ve found a way to make it work for all of you. 🙂

Krista - It is a lethal looking one, isn’t it, @budgetjan:disqus ? We will be trimming it soon. 🙂 The pink flower is hollyhock. 🙂

Krista - The name cracked me up too, @inspiringtravellers:disqus 🙂 He was a present from some friends of ours and came with name attached. 🙂

Krista - I’m wishing you warm, Spring, sunshiny days very soon, @disqus_WseMqaTPwi:disqus , but until then, I’m glad you can make warming things like this. 🙂 xo

Krista - We just finished the last of it tonight, @tandysinclair:disqus , and it got better and better. 🙂

Krista - Are you not a fan of roosters, @wanderingsheila:disqus ? 🙂 I promise to keep him faaaar away from you. 🙂 Your hubby’s soup sounds AMAZING!!

jenny_atasteoftravel - We’re still in summer mode over here but your delicious looking stew is enough to make me wish Autumn was around the corner. I think we need to make Adolf a video star…it would have been very funny to watch!

Joanne (eats well with others) - Spring hasn’t quite yet made it here, so this stew sounds absolutely lovely! I love all those fall colors and flowers!

Nancy - I’m not sure about calling a cockerel Adolf!! Everyone in Australia is talking about autumn but I’m stick stuck in winter with no sign of spring yet. Maybe in a couple of weeks? In the meantime I’m still cooking stews and soups. This one is perfect.

cheri - Poor Adolf, they have such personalities don’t they. Your stew sounds amazng!

Rachel Friesen - That stew sounds delicious. I’ll have to bookmark it for when autumn comes to this side of the world 🙂 March food for me is determined more by faith than weather – we’re Orthodox Christians, so March means Lent (the timing varies with the moon, but March is always smack in the middle of it). If you follow fasting to the letter, spring means going vegetarian for one week and vegan for seven before switching back to six carnivorous weeks of feasting for the Paschal (Easter) season. Given our family’s combination of health, age, and circumstance, we’re going more for the spirit of the law: eating as simply and economically as we can manage, with a meatless dish at least once a week. My go-to for the Lenten spring is chickpeas, toasted in olive oil with plenty of garlic, tossed with pasta, greek oregano, and freshly-grated parmesan. Simple and warming with the promise of summer salads to come 🙂

budgetjan - Just as well Adolf is placid (sans plastic) because that spur looks dangerous! His comb is a lovely red – if he was a hen he would be laying 🙂 What is the pink flower?

Andrea and John - Adolf the rooster – love it! He looks curious…that stew looks divine!

Jackie Smith - Lucky for me, winter is still hanging on in the Pacific Northwest with gray, dizzling days and a distinct chill in the air (bet you remember those, don’t you?) So I quickly copied and pasted your recipe and intend to put it to good use this weekend. Loved your rooster tale, I could imagine the laughter. . .

Tandy Sinclair - now I am craving this stew!

Cathy - Love the fact that your rooster is on the other side of the world. I can appreciate him being cute from this distance Krista 🙂 Your stew looks so good. Soups have been something that has kept us warm recently. My husband recently decided to make broccoli and stilton soup which was just delicious, even the kids ate it 😉

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