Sunday, January 5, 2020

Crock Pot Beef Stew





Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 8 hrs
Ready In: 8 hrs 30 mins
  • Ingredients

    For the meat


  • 2 tablespoons oil

  • 1.5 pounds beef stewing meat (in chunks)

  • 1-2 teaspoons salt (or less, depending on what kind of stock you’re using)

  • Black pepper (to taste)

    • 2 tablespoons flour

    For the gravy


  • 2 large yellow onions (cut into wedges)

  • 2 cloves garlic (sliced)

  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1/4 cup red wine (OR use more stock)

  • 2 cups beef stock

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

    • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

    For the vegetables


  • 3 large waxy potatoes (peeled and cut into chunks)

  • 4 large carrots (peeled, ends trimmed and cut into chunks)

  • 4 large celery sticks (trimmed and thickly sliced)

  • 1/2 pound brown mushrooms (cleaned and quartered)

  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (no need to defrost)


Instructions  

  • Brown the meat: Heat the oil in a large and deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef cubes, season with salt and pepper and stir. Sprinkle the flour over the meat and stir well. Cook until the beef is browned on all sides (do not stir too much, or the beef will not brown properly). Remove to a 5-6 quart slow cooker.
  • Start the gravy: Put the skillet back over medium high heat. If needed, add a little more oil. Cook the onions and garlic until starting to soften. Stir in the Italian seasoning and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the herbs are fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour the red wine into the pan, scratching the browned bits off the bottom. Cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the stock, Worcestershire sauce and maple syrup. Bring to a boil (this will help the stew start cooking faster once it is in the crock), then switch off the heat.
  • Transfer to the slow cooker: On top of the meat, place the potatoes, carrots, celery and mushrooms. Very carefully (!) pour the hot liquid from the skillet into the crockpot, making sure the liquid runs down all the way to the bottom and underneath the meat (stir a little if needed).
  • Cook: Cook the stew on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGh for 4 hours. 10 minutes before cooking time is over, stir in the peas. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed. Either finish cooking with the lid open (if you want a thicker stew) OR closed if you want it soupier.

    Cooking Tips:

    If you want a thick gravy: There are a few different methods to yield a thicker gravy.
    • The flouring of the meat helps a lot with thickening the gravy later on.
    • If you love very thick beef stew, you can add a shredded FLOURY potato in addition to everything else.
    • OR you can stir a cornstarch slurry into the stew about 10-15 minutes before cooking time is up and then cook it with the lid off for the remaining time – it’s what I do with my crockpot mediterranean chicken stew.
    •  
    Browning the meat: Flouring and browning the meat before you add it to the crockpot will give you a wealth of extra flavor. It is a step you can leave out if time is very sparse – but the flavor and consistency of the stew will vastly benefit from NOT skipping this step. 
    Alcohol: The alcohol will evaporate as it cooks in the skillet (it would NOT evaporate as easily if cooked entirely in the crock pot). But if you’re uncomfortable using it, just use more broth.