After returning from Cali, I discovered that the season had truly changed in Virginia. In reaction to this, or rather, over-reaction, I decided to do an entire week of crock pot cold weather meals. I picked up a new cooking magazine, the Cooking Light Slow Cooker to the Rescue edition, and had a field day. My first experiment? Slow Cooker beef stew, and it was nomilicious!
FYI, I copied the recipe directly from the magazine. I highly recommend picking it up if you like to slow cooker; it’s loaded with recipes. The edition I have should be available in stores until the end of November.
2 lbs trimmed boneless chuck roast, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp canola oil
3 medium yellow onions, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2 in thick slices
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 can nut brown ale (optional) – you can replace this with an extra cup of beef stock
1 1/4 cups unsalted beef stock
1 1/2 lbs baby Dutch potatoes, halved
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 2-in pieces
4 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves for garnish (optional)
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle beef evenly with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Add 1 1/2 tsp oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add beef to pan; cook 6 minutes, turning until well browned on all sides. Don’t crowd the pan, you can do this in two batches if necessary. Remove beef and any juices from pan.
Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and garlic; saute 4 minutes. Add beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup stock, remaining 1 1/4 tsp salt, and remaining 3/4 tsp pepper. Bring to a simmer. Carefully pour mixture into a 6-qt slow cooker. Add beef, potatoes, carrots, thyme, and bay leaves. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours.
I think it’s important to note here, when using the slow cooker, always put the vegetables on the bottom and meat on top. The meat actually cooks faster than the veggies, so you want the veggies at the bottom of the pot where they will receive more direct heat. When I made this, I layered the ingredients in the following order: potatoes, carrots, onion/garlic/stock mixture, thyme, bay leaves, and finally, beef. I highly recommend you follow the same order.
Combine remaining 1/4 cup stock and flour, stirring with a whisk. Stir flour mixture into stew; cook 15 minutes or until thickened. Stir in mustard and vinegar. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Sprinkle with parsley.
When I made this recipe, I left out the beer and the parsley. Make sure you remove the bay leaves and thyme, they aren’t tasty to eat, just for flavor 🙂
This recipe came out really well, but I think there is definitely room for improvement. If you try this out, please leave me your comments and suggestions! Most importantly, enjoy! Yummmmm