Beef · Main Dish · Slow Cooker

Beef Stew

 

 

slow-cooker-beef-stew
I forgot the peas!

I love winter. I know, that makes my sanity suspect to some people. But I love the crisp air, the sparkly snow on the trees, the intensely blue sky, and the way you can smell the outdoors when someone comes inside. Mind you, I didn’t love it quite as much last week, when I was learning how to plow in a blizzard. I probably should have picked a slightly milder storm for that lesson. But I digress.

I also love how each season has its own meals. When the snow flies, comfort foods naturally find their way onto the menu. Beef stew is one of my favorites. It’s so rich and flavorful! Setting it up in the morning in the slow cooker makes mealtime that much easier, too. Okay, so it’s not one of my most heart-healthy meals. I’d rather make it less often, and keep it this yummy, than try to make it into something it’s not. Try it, you’ll see. According to the calendar, spring is here already. There’s usually still just enough wintery weather left here in Upstate NY to sneak stew onto the menu one more time. 

Oops! I didn’t get the peas in the ingredients picture. You’ll have to use your imagination until the next time I make stew! You’ll find a printer-friendly version of the recipe at the bottom of this page. 

Ingredients:

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3 lbs. beef stew meat

¼ cup olive oil, divided

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 lb. baby red potatoes

1 large white onion

3 – 4 carrots (or ½ bag mini carrots), chopped, about 1½ cups

4 stalks celery, chopped, about 1½ cups

3 large cloves garlic, minced

fresh rosemary & thyme

1 bay leaf

2 Tbsp black peppercorns (whole)

1 – 2 Tbsp Penzeys Beef Soup Base (may substitute bouillon cubes)

½ cup flour, divided

¼ cup butter, softened

4 cups water, divided

1 cup frozen peas

Preparation:

1.) Heat about 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the salt and pepper evenly over the beef. Working in batches, brown the meat on all sides. Be sure not to crowd the pan – you get more browning when the pieces have plenty of room. Add more oil as needed. Transfer each batch to the pot of your slow cooker when it’s done.

beef-stew-1abeef-stew-1b

2.) While the beef is cooking, roughly chop the onion. Wash the potatoes well, and halve any that are significantly bigger than the rest. Set aside. Heat 2 cups of the water, and dissolve the beef base in it. Keep warm. One of the things I love about my borosilicate measuring cup is that it can go right on the warming burner of my stovetop.

3.) Cut a piece of cheesecloth about 6″ square. Laying it flat, pile the bay leaf, peppercorns, rosemary, & thyme in its center. Pull the edges up to make a little pouch, & secure with twine.

4.) When the beef is all browned & transferred to the pot, heat a little more oil in the pan, and add the onions. Sauté the onions just until starting to soften and brown a little. When they’re almost done, add the garlic & sauté briefly. Now you’ll have all this gorgeous browning in your pan.

5.) While the onions are cooking, nestle the seasoning pouch in the middle of the beef, add the potatoes to the pot, and then the carrots & celery.

beef-stew-4abeef-stew-4b

6.) Add the sautéed onions and garlic to the pot. Now deglaze the pan with the dissolved beef base you’ve been keeping warm. Stir well to get all the brown bits up off the bottom of the pan.

beef-stew-8

beef-stew-6c
everything’s dissolved

7.) Gradually add ¼ cup of the flour to the pan, whisking constantly. Continue whisking until the mixture is smooth, then add to the pot.

8.) Add the remaining 2 cups of water. Cover the pot, & cook for 8 hours on low.

9.) About ½ hour before the time is up, take your peas out of the freezer to thaw; set aside. Mix the remaining flour with the softened butter to make “kneaded butter” for thickening the gravy.

 

10.) Ladle out 2 – 3 cups of the liquid in the pot, into a small bowl. Working in batches, whisk the butter mixture into the liquid.

 

11.) With a large spoon, push the solids in the pot a little to one side. Pour the flour/butter mixture into the mostly-liquid spot you’ve created, & stir; gently stir entire pot. Cover again, and let the stew finish cooking. When it’s done, stir in the peas. The heat from the rest of the stew will warm them nicely while you’re getting everything on the table. Serve with fresh bread.

beef-stew-10c

beef-stew-10d

bstewnutritionlabel

Slow Cooker Beef Stew


Ingredients


3 lbs. beef stew meat
¼ cup olive oil, divided
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 lb. baby red potatoes
1 large white onion
3 – 4 carrots (or ½ bag mini carrots), chopped, about 1½ cups
4 stalks celery, chopped, about 1½ cups
3 large cloves garlic, minced
fresh rosemary & thyme
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp black peppercorns (whole)
1 – 2 Tbsp Penzeys Beef Soup Base (may substitute bouillon cubes)
½ cup flour, divided
¼ cup butter, softened
4 cups water, divided

Directions


1.) Heat about 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the salt and pepper evenly over the beef. Working in batches, brown the meat on all sides. Be sure not to crowd the pan – you get more browning when the pieces have plenty of room. Add more oil as needed. Transfer each batch to the pot of your slow cooker when it’s done.
2.) While the beef is cooking, roughly chop the onion. Wash the potatoes well, and halve any that are significantly bigger than the rest. Set aside. Heat 2 cups of the water, and dissolve the beef base in it. Keep warm. One of the things I love about my borosilicate measuring cup is that it can go right on the warming burner of my stovetop.
3.) Cut a piece of cheesecloth about 6″ square. Laying it flat, pile the bay leaf, peppercorns, rosemary, & thyme in its center. Pull the edges up to make a little pouch, & secure with twine.
4.) When the beef is all browned & transferred to the pot, heat a little more oil in the pan, and add the onions. Sauté the onions just until starting to soften and brown a little. When they’re almost done, add the garlic & sauté briefly. Now you’ll have all this gorgeous browning in your pan.
5.) While the onions are cooking, nestle the seasoning pouch in the middle of the beef, add the potatoes to the pot, and then the carrots & celery.
6.) Add the sautéed onions and garlic to the pot. Now deglaze the pan with the dissolved beef base you’ve been keeping warm. Stir well to get all the brown bits up off the bottom of the pan.
7.) Gradually add ¼ cup of the flour, whisking constantly. Continue whisking until the mixture is smooth, then add to the pot.
8.) Add the remaining 2 cups of water. Cover the pot, & cook for 8 hours on low.
9.) About ½ hour before the time is up, take your peas out of the freezer to thaw; set aside. Mix the remaining flour with the softened butter.
10.) Ladle out 2 – 3 cups of the liquid in the pot, into a small bowl. Working in batches, whisk the butter mixture into the liquid.
11.) With a large spoon, push the solids in the pot a little to one side. Pour the flour/butter mixture into the mostly-liquid spot you’ve created, & stir; gently stir entire pot. Cover again, and let the stew finish cooking. When it’s done, stir in the peas. The heat from the rest of the stew will warm them nicely while you’re getting everything on the table. Serve with fresh bread.

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