Friday, September 24, 2010

Easy Prep, Slow Cook, Fast Eat: Beef Stew

by Darla

It would seem that Autumn has certainly fallen. Even here, in the islands, we’ve enjoyed a week, full of lovely breezes and cooler air. I’m not sure how long it’ll last for us, though. I’m pretty sure it’s the result of some storm activity, but I’m not complaining! Instead, I’m taking advantage of the Fall-ish air and making yummy warm-you-up food like beef stew!

The best thing about this beef stew, aside from how flipping good it is, is that you can mix it up in the crock pot and forget about it until dinner. I chop up all of the vegetables the night before, and on the morning that I make the stew, I throw it all together, set the timer, and go find other things to occupy my time for the day. It’s awesome to fix up on a morning when the family will be gone all day, and you can all come home to hot, fresh dinner without the stress of putting something together.

The first few things you need for this recipe are some spices (salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and bay leaves) and all-purpose flour. You can use fresh minced garlic, if you prefer. I usually switch back and forth between fresh and powdered. Combine all of the ingredients, except the bay leaves, in a small bowl and whisk together.

Next, you’ll need beef stew meat. After cutting the meat into one-inch chunks, place it in the already warm crock pot. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the top of the meat, and stir until it is completely coated. There should still be a lot of loose flour mixture, once the meat is coated.

Now it’s time for beef broth. I prefer to buy pre-made stock or even beef base, but obviously, if you have time and the inclination to make homemade stock, go for it!

When adding the broth, pour a small amount into the crock pot and stir the mixture to create a paste out of the flour and broth. Add another small amount and continue stirring, adding the remainder of the broth in a slow, steady stream, to prevent clumping. Once all of the broth is added, stir in some worcestershire sauce.

Now it’s time for the veggies. I keep it simple and classic with celery (cleaned and sliced), carrots (peeled and sliced), potatoes (peeled and cubed), and an onion (finely chopped). If you want to make this recipe even faster and easier, use baby carrots, rather than chopping full carrots up.

Add the chopped vegetables and the bay leaves to the crock pot, cover and cook on medium high to high for at least eight hours. To cut your cooking time, you can saute the vegetables beforehand. Simply heat one tablespoon of butter or oil in a large pan over medium high heat, add the veggies and cook, stirring infrequently, for about seven to nine minutes, or until the onions and celery are translucent. Stir the cooked vegetables into the crock pot and cook on medium high to high heat for at least four hours.

When I was a little girl, I most definitely was not a beef stew eater, but as I’ve gotten older and discovered how many foods I actually do like, this has worked it’s way towards the top of my list! Especially during this time of year, when the days are growing shorter and colder, and all I really want is to relax with a hot, filling, and warming meal that I didn’t have to work on too much. Put this at the top of your “make-it-easy” list for your next busy day and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Ingredients

2 lbs. stew beef, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 2 cloves, minced
2 small bay leaves
3 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced, or a dozen or so whole baby carrots
2 celery stalks, sliced
3 medium to large potatoes, peeled and diced

Preheat your crock pot on high.

Combine the flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic in a small bowl and whisk together.

Place the stew meat in the preheated crock pot. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the top of the meat, and stir until it is completely coated. There should still be a lot of loose flour mixture, once the meat is coated.

Add a small amount of the broth slowly to the crock pot and stir to create a paste out of the flour and broth. Add another small amount and continue stirring, adding the remainder of the broth in a slow, steady stream, to prevent clumping. Once all of the broth is added, stir in the worcestershire sauce.

Add the chopped vegetables and the bay leaves to the crock pot, cover and cook on medium high to high for at least 8 hours. Or, you can saute the vegetables beforehand. Simply heat 1 tablespoon of butter or oil in a large pan over medium high heat, add the veggies and cook, stirring infrequently, for about 7-9 minutes, or until the onions and celery are translucent. Stir the cooked vegetables into the crock pot and cook on medium high to high heat for at least four hours.

recipe by Darla

 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 bttrflybabydoll September 24, 2010 at 8:29 am

I want some of that! Yum! Wish I had the resources to fly down this weekend. I'd make you save me a bowl! :-)

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2 Anonymous October 20, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Thank you for this, I'm using this recipie once I have time to set the crock pot.

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3 Foxkit December 22, 2010 at 5:43 pm

I can't wait to try this! I am going to make one change though: whenever i see carrots in a recipe I go halvsies carrots/parsnips. They are so yummy!

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4 Candice Duffey April 8, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Making this for Thursday evening, if there are any other additions to this recipe I’d love to know what they are :)

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