Sunday, November 13, 2011

Low and Slow (Cooker) Beef Stew

I’d be hard pressed to find a food my wife likes better than beef stew. It’s a winter staple for her. We have cans of the stuff hanging around the pantry all the time. I can’t stand the canned stuff. Most of it is crap. To make it palatable I’ve always got to mess with it or I won’t be able to keep it in my mouth long enough to chew and swallow. Making your own is much better, even if it can take all day to do it.

Enter the slow cooker. I love using a slow cooker for cheap cuts of meat. It takes what can be a chewy mess and turns it into a tender and tasty indulgence.

Low and slow is the answer, my friends. Low and slow.

I’m not going to kid you, though. This recipe takes a bit more work than most slow cooker recipes. A bunch of stuff gets cooked a bit before putting it into the crock pot in order to get better caramelization and richer flavor. The results are worth the effort, though. Even my wife agrees.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with all of these extra cans.

Equipment Needed
Cutting board
Chef’s knife
Garlic press (optional)
Measuring cups and spoons
Paper towels
Large skillet
Slow cooker
Large spoons, slotted and non-slotted
Vegetable peeler

3-4 pound boneless beef chuck roast
1 large onion, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound carrots, cut into 1/2-inch circles
3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper as needed
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup red wine or cooking sherry
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup flour
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 Tablespoon dried parsley

Pull apart the roast along it’s major seams, using a knife as needed. Trim excess fat and silver skin. Cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks.

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat until smoking. Brown the beef in batches, about 5 minutes for each batch, and add to the slow cooker. Add more oil as needed.

Reduce the heat to medium, adding 2 more teaspoons of oil until shimmering. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 15 seconds more, until fragrant.

Stir in the wine and tomato paste, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Simmer, uncovered, until the wine reduces by half, about 3 minutes. Pour into the slow cooker.

Add the 3 1/2 cups of the broth, bay leaves, and thyme to the slow cooker. Stir in the potatoes and carrots. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Discard the bay leaf. Set the cooker to high. Whisk together the flour and remaining 1/2 cup broth until smooth. Stir into the cooker. Add the peas and parsley. Cover and continue to cook until the sauce is thickened, the flour is cooked, and the veggies are tender, about 30 minutes to an hour more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 servings

1 comment:

Dan G said...

Wow! This recipe gets four stars, a comet and several small asteroids! Takes a bit more effort but well worth it. Amazingly starts with an inexpensive cut of beef and winds up with a dish worthy of a fine restaurant. I can hardly wait to serve this to guests!