Beef stew with winter herbs

Like a lot of home cooks, I keep a backyard herb garden. It was a gift to me on Mother's Day last year from my husband and my oldest son. I used it a lot through the summer and early fall, and completely enjoyed a sense of satisfaction from cooking with ingredients I didn't pay for (erm, I mean that I grew myself). But when the days grew darker and the Canada geese disappeared from the sky, I just stopped using it. Winter had come and the harvest was over.

Over the weekend, I picked up Jamie Oliver's Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life at my local library. In it, Jamie writes about eating from your garden all through the year. So, as I was preparing a beef stew Sunday afternoon, I decided to grab my kitchen shears, my oldest son and I slipped on our wellies, and we trudged out to the herb garden to see if anything was going on.

Sure enough, there were some perfectly lovely sprigs of lemon thyme and rosemary ready to be chopped and simmered in my stew! I also brought in some very healthy chives for a garnish. Here's the delicious result:

The herb garden isn't visible from the kitchen window like our raised veggie beds are, and I've been staring out at those muddy beds for months. So it never occurred to me that the herb garden still held treasures! No more ignoring the herb garden in winter for me.

Do you keep an herb garden? Tell me about what you grow and where you grow it! What are your favourite herbs to cook with? Are you getting excited for spring as much as I am?


  1. I haven't done a herb garden but we do plant a vegetable garden every year...though last year we moved so this will be the first year in a different climate with not so nutrient rich soil. Hoping for the best as we've got 2 big batches of compost ready to be mixed with the soil. I'm thinking because there is so much clay in the earth that square foot gardening is going to be our best bet. Need to take out a few books from the library and explore further.

    Favorite herb? Dill...I swear I could eat it at every meal!


  2. Lovely! Obviously you do not get the Ontario blast of winter. So nice to still have acccess to your herbs. What a sweet gift!