Fall At The Manor: Oktoberfest Bacon, Beer and Potato Stew

It’s autumn! A time of hot chocolatey mornings, and toasty marshmallow evenings, and, best of all, leaping into leaves!

A chill wind blew through the forest today.  October is here, a time when Nature and it’s furry friends begin their journey underground to rest and whether you are introspective or not, it cannot be denied that the world slows down, we spend more time indoors, in our dream worlds, in our minds.   

I love my home during Autumn.  Last night I pulled the sourdough starter out of the fridge and gave it a generous feeding only to find it hadn’t risen almost at all this morning meaning the house was too cold overnight.  I’ve put it on the stovetop under the light and it seems to slowly rising as the afternoon progresses.  I’ll bake a Sandwich loaf this evening for this weeks bread. 

For Thanksgiving this year, I’ve been tasked with making the turkey, stuffing and gravy.  I’ve never done a turkey before so it’s an exciting challenge.  I can’t believe Holiday season is upon us, where is the time going?  Can it be I’m having too much fun?  

I pulled the Autumn decor from the storage last weekend and spent one evening cozy-ing up the home with plaid pillows, soft blankets, fairy lights and pumpkins of course, you can’t forget those!  Aside from these pieces that I’ve had and used for years, this season has been a frugal one. I bought 2 Fall scented candles and am enjoying only shopping for what I really need. 

We hosted our annual Mabon feast last weekend; an evening with friends and good food.  I did a traditional English roast dinner with my amazing Chicken Recipe, Garlic mashed potatoes, peas and carrots and Yorkshires to sop up gravy. A friend who was walking past our neighborhood stopped in and joined our party just in time to enjoy a slice of my Caramel Apple Pie . We sat around the table, candles lit, talking into the night.  After our guests left and the kitchen was tidy, I retreated into my studio for a Witches Thanksgiving Ritual. Magick is a big part of my practice.

I guess my next project will be switching the Summer closet to the Fall/Winter Wardrobe And of course pulling the feather duvets out of storage and mending shoes or clothes that we need for the cold ahead. These will have to wait however until after Thanksgiving is over.  We celebrate twice each year; once with my husbands family and again with mine.  We also take a walk at the Hatchery every year so we’ll be doing that as well this weekend.  There’s much to do at the Manor but for tonight I think I’ll settle in with an Autumn movie.  I recently wrote a blog with some of my recommendations for Fall movies but this past weekend we watched Knives Out and Mary Poppins Returns and they definitely make the cut for an Autumn movie night.

This stew is a big winner at our home during Autumn/Winter.   A nod to Oktoberfest and the season; it’s hearty and can be served with a chunk of fresh Garlic Toast. 

Bacon, Beer and Potato Stew


4 cups chicken stock

3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups) 

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 bay leaves

8 ounces sliced smoked bacon

2 carrots, 1/2-inch dice (about 1 cup)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 stalks celery, 1/2-inch dice (about 1 cup)

1 small bundle fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine

1 leek, green top trimmed, 1/2-inch dice (about 1 cup)

1 cup light German beer, such as Pilsner

1/4 cup sliced fresh chives


  1. Combine 2 cups of the chicken stock and one-third of the potatoes in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer until fork-tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Stir in the mustard to combine, and then blend to a smooth puree using an immersion or regular blender. 
  2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat until crispy and most of the fat has been rendered, 12 to 15 minutes, and then transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Pour out the bacon fat, leaving at least 3 tablespoons in the pot. 
  3. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the carrots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes, and then add the remaining potatoes, celery, bay leaves, leeks and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the leeks are soft, 4 minutes, and then pour in the beer and bring to a boil until the beer has cooked down to about 2 tablespoons, 2 to 4 minutes. Pour in the remaining chicken stock and the reserved potato puree. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered until the vegetables are just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 
  4. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Crumble the reserved bacon on top and garnish with the chives.

A very Happy Thanksgiving and harvest season from the Bell Witch Manor family (Jennifer, Seth, Salem and Merlin) to your family.

My family is my life, and everything else comes second as far as what’s important to me.



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