Hearty Hunter’s Stew with Ghostly Mashed Potatoes

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I found this darling idea in the Taste of Home Halloween magazine.  As soon as I saw it, I knew my 4-year old would be delighted…and I was not disappointed!  He thought it was the coolest thing in the world to see a ghost rising out of his stew!  Thanks to that ghoulish apparition, he ate most of his dinner that night. Not a regular occurrence by any means!  You could easily make ghosts top your favorite stew recipe but in case there are those of you that would like to try something new, here is a delicious new recipe I tried out.  Since I knew I would be using mashed pototaes for the ghosts, I cut out the potatoes and used extra rutabagas.  Hope you enjoy this fun and deliciously spooky twist on a classic!

Hearty Hunter’s Stew
submitted by Brittany ~ The Sister’s Cafe

2 lb boneless beef chuck roast, cut in 1-inch cubes
2 Tb canola oil
4  cups water, divided
1 can diced tomatoes
2 medium onions, cut in wedges
2 celery ribs, sliced
2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
2-3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
6 medium carrots, quartered
2 large rutabagas, peeled and cubed
1 cup frozen peas
1 Tb cornstarch
3 lbs potatoes (8 medium), peeled and cubed
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/2 tsp salt

In a heavy pan, brown meat in oil over medium heat.  Add 3 1/2 cups water scrape to loosen any browned drippings from pan.  Add undrained can of tomatoes, onions, celery, Worchestershire sauce, bay leaves, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Discard bay leaves; add the carrots and rutabagas.  Cover and cook for another hour.

Stir in peas; cook for 10 minutes. (Reserve 16 peas for ghost eyes)  Combine cornstarch with 1/2 cup water until smooth; stir into stew. Bring to boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

About 30 minutes before serving, place potatoes in a large saucepan  and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender.  Drain. Return the potatoes to pan; add sour cream, butter and salt.  Mash until smooth.  Place mashed potatoes in a large resealable plastic bag; cut a 2 inch hole in one corner.  Pipe ghost potatoes onto stew; garnish with reserved peas.

Yield: 8 servings

recipe source: adapted from Taste of Home Magazine

**Mindy and I both tried out these cute ghosts. She used the original instructions for making the mashed potato ghosts and that is her picture above.  When I made them for my family I was lazy and thought to try a short cut… good old Betty Crocker Butter and Herb mashed potato packet! I thought the flavored potatoes would be tasty and it sounded so much easier! However, as you can see from my own picture below, the ghosts did not turn out nearly as cute.  The instant mashed potatoes were much thinner and hard to smooth out into a ghost shape.  They were also not white!!  However, my kids didn’t notice and it saved me a lot of time and hassle. So either way works!


  1. Mindy says

    PS I forgot to say that I’m glad the instant potatoes work so great, too. Definitely a great idea for when you don’t feel like making real mashed potatoes or just don’t have time.

  2. Barb says

    This is adorable! I have yet to make beef stew for the kiddos. Thanks for the pics & recipe! Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Ryanne Slocombe says

    This was by far our favorite stew recipe. My husband usually isn’t a big fan of stew and he was in love with dinner last night. One question though, in the ingredient list shouldn’t it say 2 medium ‘onions’ cut in wedges not ‘tomatoes’? Thanks for all the great recipes!

  4. Pamela says

    This was so assume, and the meat was so tender. It is in our favorites. But family said cut back on the cloves. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Nikki says

    This might be a ridiculous question but I am a new mom and also pretty new with home cooking… but do you drain the grease from the hamburger meat before you add the water? or after? or at all??

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