Comfort Food for Cruising


The Galley Guys have been living high on the hog lately with last issue’s memorable Bouride à la Provençal and the mouth-watering curried shrimp in the June issue and just recently, we met with Ann Vanderhoof, the author of The Spice Necklace, to sample her island fare for the November Waypoint issue of Canadian Yachting. Her recipes made us want to book our trips right now!

But the Galley Guys – Greg Nicoll, Andy Adams and John Armstrong – are “guys” after all. Guys love gourmet food. Guys love great wines and guys get hungry. Really hungry.

This fall, when the bitter winds come to fill your sails, the waves get whipped higher and the sailing requires layer after layer of clothing, you will want comfort food for cruising. I don’t deny that the Bouride à la Provençal and a well-matched wine leaves us staring off into space with a wistful look on our face, dreaming of the next opportunity to have such a memorable meal. Then again, some days you’re just hungry.

“I don’t want a fork. I want a shovel! I’m starving. I’m cold. And, I want it now. No waiting for you to fuss for an hour in the galley, please!”

I feel like having roast beef and gravy, with lively seasoning, hearty vegetables and an appetizing garlic aroma, but can you give it all to me in one dish? Oh, the beauty of a hearty beef stew.

In need for a consultation from our newly-appointed Galley Guys’ butcher, we contacted Peter Springer at Keswick’s Queensway Market and we asked him, “What is the best cut for our beef stew?” We discovered that melt-in-your-mouth sirloin was on sale. Who could resist? We grabbed a few pounds of his best top sirloin and brought them on board. The advantage to cutting up your own beef is that you minimize the exposure to air by cubing your beef at the last minute. On the other hand, the melt-in-your-mouth sirloin, melted in our pot. You might want a tougher [although possibly more flavourful] cut like round, flank or the butcher’s own stew beef, although sirloin is what we used.

And you could build your stew the old-fashioned way by browning each cube of beef in a skillet with bubbling oil after first tossing them in seasoned flour. But, we have an easier and equally delicious way. Throwing all pretensions to the winds, we confess to using nothing more exotic than a Crock Pot. It’s true!

Prep time 30 minutes, cooking time one full day. It’s sort of fast and sort of slow but if you don’t use a Crock Pot already, you’re in for a treat. The right recipe with the right ingredients will yield a day full of intoxicating aromas with a minimum of preparation time and no supervision from the chef. Plug it in and let it cook.

For super convenience when cruising, make the stew the night before and spoon from the Crock Pot directly to a pre-warmed, food canister Thermos bottle or two…or three. Place them in an insulated cooler bag and head for the boat.

The better Thermos food containers will keep the stew nice and warm for over 24 hours. Open one Thermos and serve the stew with buttered crusty bread whenever the crew needs warming up!

Or, hang on until you are back at the dock and open your bottle of Chivite Gran Feudo from Churchill Cellars wine importers and let it breathe for an hour before serving. Alternatively, you can decant it and give it a good swish in your glass to make sure that all the flavors come out and “swap around” as Mark Twain said about the virtues of stew.

Of course, one of the most delicious parts of your beef stew is the wonderful garlicky gravy which is best mopped up with a slice of French baguette. The difficulty we ran into was that by the time we moved our French baguette from the bakery to the boat and started slicing it, it had the consistency of a 2 x 4!

Crusty Italian bread seemed to travel better…and we sail better when we are warm and satisfied. The Galley Guys wish you a great fall sailing season!

Galley Guys’ Crock Pot Beef Stew

2 pounds of beef, chopped into 1 inch cubes
¼ cup of flour
1/2 teaspoons of salt
½ half teaspoon of pepper
1 1/2 cups of beef broth
1 tsp. Lea & Perrins Worchester Sauce
1 clove of garlic
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. paprika
4 carrots sliced
4 potatoes diced
4 new white mushrooms, sliced
2 onions, chopped
1 stalk of celery, sliced

Place the meat into your Crock Pot or slow cooker. Mix the flour, salt and pepper together and then pour over the meat, stirring to coat the meat with the flour. Next, add the remaining ingredients and stir again to mix well. Place the slow cooker cover on top and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours. Stir thoroughly before serving.

By Andy Adams with John Armstrong and Greg Nicoll

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