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Beef Stew  

Posted by Denise on February 8, 2011

beef_stew_in_yellow_bowl

Thick and meaty, this stew is full of veggies and deliciousness

Our Beef Stew recipe makes a thick chunky stew with a deep satisfying flavor. Large bite sized pieces of beef blend with slices of potato, onion and carrots in a broth of beef juice combined with a red wine to make a thick sauce. Add a green salad and a hunk of bread and you have a complete meal.

Our son, Andy, likes this stew and would eat all of the vegetables even when we couldn’t get him to eat carrots in other foods. You can be sneaky and even add other vegetables like corn and peas to it. This makes a large batch of stew, but we rarely have more than a single bowlful left.

I prefer to make this in the crock pot since it is so easy to let it cook all day. Just think, you can go through the day knowing that dinner is ready whenever you are ready to eat!

I do not add any salt to this stew until it is done cooking because since we are using beef broth (I used a teaspoon of concentrated beef broth in a cup of warm water, stirring until it dissolved.) which has quite bit of salt in it. I didn’t use extra salt at all in the stew and it tasted great, but add it if you need to.

And check out the photo where we are adding the vegetables to the crock pot. Do you see the plastic liner in the crock pot? Now this isn’t a regular plastic bag, so don’t try it or you will end up with a melted mess and a ruined crock pot. This is one of the best slow cooking inventions ever! It is a specially made cooking bag just for crock pots. You line your crock pot with it, then load the ingredients in the liner inside of the pot. It cooks inside the bag like normal, but clean up is a breeze. You pull it out and throw it away with no cooked on mess.  (Just to clear the record, I am telling you this on my own because I use them all the time, no one has approached me for this blog. I buy them in the grocery store near the baggies. They don’t cost much and the amount of time I save when I don’t have to scrub crusty baked on food off of my slow cooker is significant. And it keeps my crock pot nice longer than if I didn’t use them.)

I use Merlot wine in this stew. We don’t like to drink Merlot because we don’t like the taste, but it works great in this recipe. That is the only reason we keep Merlot in the house, for cooking. Sorry for that, everyone who likes Merlot! You can use another red wine instead. The wine adds flavor and helps make the meat tender, since we are using a cut that is slightly tough. We want the meat to be tougher to stand up to the long cooking time without turning to mush. The long cooking time and the combination of ingredients makes the stew very tender.

Stew beef that is packaged under that name can come from many places on the cow like the neck or shank parts, but it is usually cut from the round or chuck areas. It has become more expensive to buy packaged stewing beef over the past few years because the cost includes the butcher’s time, but you can cut up your own meat (preferably a chuck roast) into the 1” cubes yourself, taking care to remove extra fat and any gristle as you cut. You will save on the cost.

My slow cooker has a feature where you can set the cooking time, then it auto-shifts to warm mode. I cook the stew on high for 6 hours, then the crock pot keeps it warm until we are ready to eat. If yours doesn’t automatically shift to warm, you may want to cook it on low for a longer time. You want to keep it from becoming overcooked.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, this stew can be put into a heavy pot with a lid and simmered on the stove for an hour or more. Stir occasionally and don’t turn the heat up far enough that the bottom burns. Keep the lid on tightly except when stirring. It can simmer for hours without harm and will taste great!

 

 

Beef Stew

Makes 6-8 hearty servings

 

 

 

 

beef_stew_ingredients

 

   

 

Ingredients:

1           Tablespoon olive or other oil for browning beef

4-5        lbs. Stew beef, cut into 1” cubes

4-5         Medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peel left on, cut into 1” cubes

1                       lb. baby carrots left whole or large carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch thick rounds

1                       Whole onion, cut into 1” chunks

1                       Cup beef broth either homemade or canned or from concentrate

1                       Cup red wine such as Merlot

2                       Tablespoons flour mixed in ½ cup warm water

                             

Instructions:

1.     Heat oil in skillet on the stove on medium-high heat. Add part of the meat in a single layer and brown for a couple of minutes per side. You will have to do this in batches to get all of the sides brown without cooking it too much.

browning_beef

 

2.     Put the slow cooker liner in if you are using one, making sure to wrap the liner over the lip of the crock pot so it doesn’t slide down as you place the ingredients inside. Add the carrots, potatoes and onions to the crock pot. Add the browned beef chunks on top.

 

cutting_potatoes

 

veggies_in_slow_cooker

 

3.     Deglaze the pan that you browned the meat in (deglaze means to add liquids and stir to get all of the nice brown bits that stuck to the pan off. There is a lot of flavor in there yet!) with the beef broth and pour the liquid over the meat into the cooker. Add the wine by pouring it over the meat in the cooker, also.

 

deglazing_the_pan

 

4.     Set the slow cooker to high for 6 hours if it has an auto shift feature or put it on low if it doesn’t.

5.     Go to class or work, run errands, take a nap, (Heaven forbid, do homework all you college kids! :-) ) whatever, until an hour before suppertime.

6.     About an hour before you plan to eat, mix the flour in the water until no lumps are present. Add the mixture to the food in the slow cooker and gently stir all of the ingredients together. Turn the slow cooker to high again to thicken the stew. (If you are doing this on the stovetop, turn to medium and stir occasionally to do the same thing, but you will only need to do it for 10-15 minutes or until it is thicker.)

7.     Take a taste test and add salt and pepper if needed for taste. Serve.

 beef_stew_in_green_bowl

 


 

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