Monday, December 10, 2012

Easy Hearty Crockpot Stew

I guess I'm on a kick of my hubby's favorite things lately, but seriously, his all time favorite dinner is a hearty beef stew.  I thought I'd give you our recipe as it is a very easy to make, cooks on low all day, and tastes great!  Not only that but my picky girls will eat tons of the soft carrots in the stew when only one out of the three of them will eat carrots the cold regular way in every day life.  Picture it.  It's a cold blustery winter day... you come through the door and sit down to a big ol' simmering bowl of this:

Homemade hearty beef stew

You only need a few simple ingredients to pull this "man meal" off. After that you just need a slow roasting oven or a crockpot and some time.  Gather the following ingredients (full printable recipe at the end of the post):

2-3 pounds stew meat
1 chopped onion (or 1/2 bag frozen chopped onions)
1 bag baby carrots
2-3 stalks of celery (chopped)
2-4 russet potatoes (peeled, chopped into bite-sized chunks)
1 can beef broth (+1 can of water)
garlic powder
parsley flakes
seasoning salt (or salt and pepper)
Worcestershire sauce

Take your defrosted stew meat and place inside two grocery bags (doubled up).  Pour in a couple big scoops of flour and add some seasoning salt and pepper to the bag.  Twist the bag closed at the top and shake the contents together, until the meat is covered in the flour and seasoning.  Pour into the bottom of your roasting pan or crock pot. This recipe is quick and easy, no browning of the meat required.

the stew meat covered in flour and seasoning goes in first
Next, you want to chop up an onion, or use my awesome time saver of a bag of frozen chopped onions and dump in half the bag.

frozen onions mean no tears! Hooray.
Dump in a bag of baby carrots, or as many baby carrots as you want

baby carrots will save you chopping time!
Next chop up 2-3 stalks of celery and add to the pot

onions, carrots, and celery are your passport to flavor town
Peel and chop up 2-4 russet potatoes into bite-sized chunks and toss in the pot.

Next pour in one can of beef broth, plus one can of water into the pot

Next come the spices.  I have to say, that spices in the recipe are KEY to it working out and tasting right.  If you under season you will have a very blah meal.  The seasonings I like to use are:  Seasoning salt, garlic powder, paprika, parsley flakes, and Worcestershire sauce

Behold, the spice of life.  Sorry, couldn't resist.

I shake hearty amounts of each one of these into the stew.  Ok well I go easy on the garlic powder since my family doesn't like that flavor, but you are seasoning a lot of meat and veggies, so a few solid shakes of each spice flavor will not hurt.

Now all you have to do is slap the lid on and plug this baby in and cook for 8 hours.  You can make this in the morning, set it on low and when you come home later your dinner will be ready.  It must be noted that if you have a NEW crock pot that burns the snarf out of everything on low, then this recipe will cook in half the time and the meat will be tough.  I highly recommend chucking this kind of crock pot out the window (or take it back to the store) and get a roasting oven where you can control the temperature (see my rant here).  I set my lovely roasting oven at 200ยบ, right below boiling, which is the perfect temp to cook low and slow all day.

By the way, if I am home I will stir the stew occasionally throughout the day and half way through I will add another round of spices, as the flavor tends to cook out a bit.  Now it's been 8 hours and you open the lid to find this:

Mmm beef stew.  Almost ready to eat!
This next step is optional, and it depends on the consistency of the liquid of the finished stew.  If it is thick enough for your tastes then check seasonings and then serve.  If you want the liquid to be a little thicker, do this. Put a few spoonfuls of flour in a bowl and add some water a little bit at a time. You don't want a thick paste or a runny liquid, but you want to create a little smooth slurry that will act as a thickener.  Pour this into the stew and stir slowly.  You will instantly see the stew thicken.  I tend to do this about 3o minutes before serving.

Mixing flour and  water together first will eliminate lumps in your stew (this works for gravy too)
Now the last step is to stir the stew and TASTE it.  The meat should be tender, the carrots, should slice through easily, the potatoes should still keep their shape but you can still run a fork through them easily.  This is also your last chance to add more seasoning.  I will usually add more Worcestershire, seasoning salt, and parsley flakes here for a brighter green color and stir one more time.  Scoop into bowls and serve with warm, soft, french bread

Stew Stew Stew... Oh how my hubby loves you.

One big bowl is all you need and a more satisfying meal can not be found.

This also freezes well (not that ours lasts that long) and Mr. D. likes to take portions every day to work, so he can enjoy his stew non stop for days at a time.  I say are you sick of the stew yet? And his answer is always a resounding "not even close!"  :)

Full printable recipe found here.  Enjoy!


Amelia said...

Hi Jenn, your comfort stew look awesome, very flavorful. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Have a wonderful week ahead.

Anonymous said...

wanted to see what size can you use, large or small

Anonymous said...

Put this together today in 15 minutes and it was amazing. Added a few touches of my own, added Lipton onion soup mix and a can of petite diced tomatoes and a small can of corn. Left out the potatoes, because they tend to get mushy and taste weird. Will definitely make again!

Unknown said...

I have made this 3 times.. My husband does the same bringing it to work... He absolutly loves the flavor as do I. Great recipe, thank you, I now don't need to continue trying new ones trying to find one i really like anymore!!

Jenn said...

So glad you found one that works for you. I LOVE that feeling. This is still my hubby's favorite dinner. He makes all his co-workers slightly jealous when he brings this in for a meal. :)

High Heels N Lead said...

Instead of adding flour to thicken, I use some of the steamed veggies and potatoes and blend them to mush, then add them back in the soup to thicken. Soooo yummy!

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