The last couple days have been chilly and rainy, therefore perfect for cooking and preparing meals for the week. The best thing about chilly fall days and winter is that there seems to be a little bit more time to spare because it's too cold to be outside and the garden is done needing attention for the year. 

So, this time of year I spend a lot of time preparing for the winter. Freezing, canning, and cooking in large batches for easy meals during the week. The weekend was filled with testing new recipes. I love the warmth of the oven and the heavenly smell of stews and soups cooking. I'm pretty sure you'll love the way your kitchen smells while making this perfect fall dish, beef pot pie. With or without the gluten-free crust, it's nutritious and hearty.

Beef pot pie

Shopping List (Buy organic ingredients when possible):

Stew
• 1 pound hormone and antibiotic-free stew meat (I get mine at Whole Foods Market)
• Olive oil
• 1 small can of organic tomato paste
Arrowroot flour
• 2 cups of beef or vegetable broth (I used water, which isn't as flavorful, but I didn't have any homemade beef or vegetable broth on hand. Most broths at the store contain natural flavors or yeast extract (another name for MSG)
• Fresh rosemary
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 6 small red potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
• 3/4 cup frozen peas
• Salt and pepper to taste

Crust
• 1 package Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Oat Flour
• Olive oil
• Salt
• Chilled Water
Click here for the crust recipe

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a large pot and add meat.
2. Over high heat, brown the stew meat on all sides, but do not cook meat all the way through. Place meat in a glass dish and set aside.
3. In the same warm pot, make a roux by combining 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and 2 tablespoons of arrowroot flour. Stir often and for about 3-5 minutes. (This is to thicken the stew)
4. Add broth or water to the pot and stir well, getting rid of lumps.
5. Add beef, with juices, back to the pot, add a couple rosemary sprigs and garlic and let simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
6. Add onion, potatoes, carrots, celery, salt and pepper and cook until vegetables are soft, about 30 more minutes.
7. Just before everything is finished cooking, add the frozen peas and cook until peas are warm.

At this point you can:
• Serve as a delicious stew in soup bowls or
• Put into ramekins and top with crust recipe above

If you top with the crust follow the rest of these directions:
8. After putting stew into ramekins, top with crust.
9. In a small dish, whisk 1 egg. Take a pastry brush and brush some of the egg over the top of the crust to achieve a golden-brown crust.
10. Cut two little slits in the top of the crust, place ramekins on a cookie sheet (in case they overflow), and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the crust is golden-brown.

Tipoftheday • You can easily swap out the beef and use chicken for a chicken pot pie.
• This isn't a quick meal, so it's great to cook on the weekends
• This would make a delicious, hearty Monday morning breakfast if made on Sunday afternoon