Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Best Slow Cooker Beef Stew Ever

Last weekend was cold, dark and gray. It's a bit unusual for central Minnesota to have no snow on the ground this time of year. We did have a pretty big snowstorm a few weeks ago, but it melted within a few days. So now we are just left with brown grass and bare trees. Snow is a pain in the butt, but it sure does make things look pretty. So last weekend was the perfect time for a warm and comforting meal to cut through the brown and cloudy coldness. The first thing that came to mind was beef stew. It's always been one of my favorite winter-time dishes.

I've tried many different recipes for beef stew over the years. I've tried recipes in the slow cooker, recipes on the stove-top and recipes in the oven. I really like the slow cooker recipes the best because the stew cooks for longer and meat becomes so tender. I took some favorite elements from a couple other recipes and made up my very own beef stew recipe. I told my husband that I was combining about three different recipes to make dinner that night and he replied, "That sounds about right for you." I'm always combining recipes and customizing them.

The results were fantastic! I took the slow-cooking method of one recipe, the browning of the beef and deglazing the pan of another recipe, and the herbs and veggies of yet another recipe. This recipe is as custom as they get. I made the recipe large (it serves about 8) so that I could freeze lots of leftovers to enjoy over the next few weeks. Beef stew is great with biscuits. I tried a new recipe called Cheddar-Thyme Flaky Biscuits from allrecipes.com. It was a perfect match to the herbs in the stew. We also enjoy eating plain biscuits with butter and honey or jam. I hope you enjoy the warm meaty goodness of this stew, the best ever!

The Best Slow Cooker Beef Stew Ever
serves 8
2 lbs. stew meat, cubed
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
4 cups (32 oz.) beef broth
1 1/2 lb. red potatoes, cubed (unpeeled)
1/2 lb. carrots, coarsely chopped
6 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried, crushed rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. flour

  1. Place beef, 2 Tbsp. flour and salt and pepper in large resealable bag. Shake to coat beef. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add beef and stir to brown evenly. Transfer beef to slow cooker and return skillet to heat. Deglaze pan by adding the wine and scraping up the browned bits. Pour this into the slow cooker as well.
  2. To the slow cooker, also add the beef broth, the potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, parsley, rosemary and thyme. Stir well. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 10 to 12 hours.
  3. 30 minutes before serving, combine the 1/4 cup water and 2 Tbsp. flour in a small bowl and gradually add to the stew while stirring. Cook for 30  minutes on high. Serve.

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