Saturday, January 7, 2012

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

I'm always looking for slow cooker meals on cold winter days.  I've seen many variations of beef stew, but I wanted to try out my own recipe, something that was let greasy.  It is basically a two pot dish, prep in the morning, cook all day, and enjoy at your convenience.  So simple!  I served mine with biscuits and a simple green salad.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!!

Beef Stew

1.5 - 2lbs extra lean round beef (either cut it yourself into 2 inch cubes, or purchase it already cut up)
4 heaping tablespoons of flour
1 tsp each salt & pepper
2 T olive oil
Heat olive oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat.  In a large ziplock bag, mix together the flour, salt, and pepper.  Add the beef and toss.  Add the beef to the pan, reserving the seasoned flour for later.  Brown the beef on all sides and add to the crock pot, removing with a slotted spoon. 

2 T olive oil
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock (stock has more flavor than broth, but broth can be substituted)
1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
Add 2 more tablespoons of Olive oil to the hot pan (after beef has been removed) and the remaining flour, whisking the oil and flour together.  You are making a rough that with thicken the gravy for the stew.  After is has combined into a paste and browned slightly, add the red wine, continuing to whisk it together preventing any lumps from forming.  Let the red wine simmer for a few minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate, and stirring often.  At this point, the sauce will be very thick and bubbling.  Then add the beef stock and tomato sauce, stirring until smooth.  Add the gravy to the crock pot along with the following:
1 medium to large onion, cut in a medium dice
4 small to medium sized potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut into medium dice (I kept the skins on, but that is up to you)
2 stalks of celery, diced small (I prefer to have the celery there for taste, not have large pieces of it)
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-1/2 inch rounds (you can substitute 1 cup of baby carrots)
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (you can substitute 1/2 tsp of dried thyme)
salt to taste (I added another 1/2 tsp)

Stir to combine and set the slow cooker to high for 5-6 hours, or low for 8-9 hours.  If the gravy is not as thick as you would like, take the cover off for the last 30 min on high.  Serve with biscuits or rolls on the side or if you would prefer, serve over biscuits, rice, or noodles.  Enjoy!!!

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