Originally posted 2016-01-09 12:00:36.
I love my slow cooker. It truly produces food which feeds the soul, particularly on a cold winter’s night. It can turn the most humble of ingredients into an amazing meal. One of my favorites is beef stew. I love coming home after work or a soccer practice to the smell of it enveloping the kitchen. Add a warm loaf of bread or some rolls and its pure heaven on a cold night.
This is my own recipe and its scaled for my six quart slow cooker. Stew is a forgiving dish so its a good way to get rid of that wilted celery or less-than-pretty carrots. I must say it never comes out the same depending on what veggies I have around the house and I have experimented with different meats. Below is the basics which I follow pretty much every time.
3lbs. beef (I usually go with a chuck or whatever is cheapest. I did use a London broil because it happened to be on sale. It worked but I think a cut which has more marbling is a better choice. Lean meats don’t get the melting tenderness a fattier cut of meat has. I wouldn’t bother with stew meat, I think its way over priced. If the roast says its good for pot roast its good for stew.
salt and pepper
4 cups beef broth
1 can tomato paste
1 cup red wine
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. thyme (some people prefer oregano but I like thyme. I find it more complimentary)
1 onion roughly chopped
2 cups carrots chopped. (I use the “baby” carrot from the store. I don’t bother chopping them, I just put them in whole).
1 cup celery roughly chopped
3 potatoes cut into 1″ squares
2 cups water
- Cube the beef into 1″ or so cubes. Place in a gallon bag along with the flour and salt and pepper and shake until the meat is covered. Later on the flour will help thicken your stew.
- Brown the beef. This shouldn’t take long, just enough to get a nice sear on the meat. The sear brings out flavor and improves on the stew.
- Place the meat into the slow cooker.
- Add the beef broth, tomato paste, wine, bay leaves, onion, carrots, celery and potatoes. I mix my wine with the tomato paste before I put it into the slow cooker because it mixes easier.
- Add water to the top if it looks dry. The most I’ve added is two cups. It depends on how many vegetables I have added.
- Set the slow cooker to low. Mine has options for 4, 6, 8 & 10 hours. Six hours is probably enough to get it done but I think giving it ten hours adds depth. Eight hours is probably fine too. Ten hours tends to work with my schedule.
- Discard the bay leaves and serve