This post is for my dear friend Jean (who has a BEAUTIFUL baby boy at home) and for anyone who does not have a whole lot of time during the work week to come home and prepare dinner. If you have a CROCK POT (or SLOW COOKER), USE IT. Dude, crock pots are so underrated! This baby does all the work for you! All you have to do is chop up some vegetables and throw it in with meat and broth and voila! YOU HAVE DINNER. The other totally awesome thing, is that you come home to a wonderfully smelling kitchen!
Now, you might be worried about leaving a slow cooker on all day (when no one is home). As long as you are cooking on LOW and it’s safely plugged into an outlet, you are completely fine. You can read more about cooking with slow cookers here: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Factsheets/Focus_On_Slow_Cooker_Safety/index.asp
If you are still not convinced, one last bonus: slow cookers use less electricity than an oven.
Beef stew is not gourmet by any means, but it’s a HEARTY, delicious meal that will satisfy any appetite! I like to add a lot of different vegetables for my kids so you can take out or add whatever you like! Just like any other recipe, the more you make it, the more you’ll get comfortable with it and you won’t have to measure anything. You’ll know how much to put in to your preference and liking. You can adjust the measurements below as you like. Hope you enjoy!
- 1- 2 pounds of lean stew BEEF (depending on how much you want) or beef chuck shoulder roast, cut into 1 inch cubes (this cut is also called chuck shoulder pot roast and chuck roast boneless). Stew Beef is already cut for you!
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1/2 lb. large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch thick coins
- 2- 3 large potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Half bag of frozen peas
- Handful of broccoli; chopped (optional)
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- Onion powder (for sprinkling)
- 1- 1 1/2 tablespoon Dry oregano
- 1-2 tablespoons Basil (fresh or dry); if using fresh basil, throw a handful of basil leaves in there (again, it’s up to you)
- 1 quart beef broth (if you don’t have beef broth, chicken or vegetable stock works just fine too)
- Water (as needed)
- 1/4 cup ketchup (optional)
- 4 tablespoons flour; you will use this initially to coat the meat and some at the end combined with water and added towards the end to thicken the stew
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Sprinkle the beef cubes lightly with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and flour for extra flavor during browning.
- When using a Crock-Pot for beef stew, for extra flavor, brown the floured beef cubes in olive oil before transferring them to the Crock-Pot OR if you don’t have time, just throw them in the crock pot as is.
- Chop up all of your veggies and place them into the crockpot
- Add the entire quart of beef broth into the crock pot (covering all of the meat and veggies; add more if you need to)
- Add seasoning: oregano, basil, more onion powder (if desired), salt and pepper; MIX
- Add the ketchup (if desired); MIX again
- Cook on LOW for 6-7 hours (you can cook on HIGH for about 4 hours); the longer you cook the stew, the meat gets more tender
- For a thicker STEW, combine 1-2 tbsp of flour OR corn starch with a 1/4 cup of water. Stir until smooth and then stir into the stew towards the end and cook for another 30 min to an hour.)
- Serve with brown rice or bread, ENJOY!
Best Slow Cooker Recipes: 5 Smart Tips (From Food and Wine)
1. Brown the Meat
For a richer flavor, sear meat in a skillet, then deglaze the pan and add it all to the slow cooker.
2. Use Less Liquid
When translating a conventional recipe for a slow cooker, reduce the liquid by 25 percent.
3. Presoak Beans
Beans will cook faster and more evenly if soaked overnight before slow-cooking.
4. Fill to the Line
To ensure food cooks evenly, don’t underfill or overfill the slow cooker.
5. Use Tough Cuts
Tougher cuts of meat, which require longer cooking times to become tender, are ideal for a slow cooker.