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Crock Pot Beef Stew

Mario / March 12, 2010

Here is a recipe I’ve been working on for a little over a year. This is one where I have take a recipe for ingredients and proportions only and worked to give it my own spin. I’ve put it together it with different vegetable variations–all of which turned out great getting the overall flavor right, but needing to work on the consistency of the gravy. It has always come out too watery in the past. I remembered a cooking show I saw years back where they added some corn starch to a stir-fry to make the sauce thicken, so I tried it in the past and ended up with small balls of corn starch. This time I dissolved the corn starch in some water and added that to the mix, and it came out just right!

I also added something I saw on Julie & Julia, peas! And they worked out great! The trick is to add them at the end, a little before serving–frozen peas work nicely–and they’ll be perfectly firm with the meal.

Without much further ado, here is the recipe…

Ingredients

  • 1-2 lb. cubed chuck
  • 1 large onion
  • 2-3 large carrots
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1/2 lb. mushrooms, quarted
  • 1 bag frozen peas
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 3 sprigs minced parsley
  • salt
  • pepper
  • flour for dredging
  • 4 tsp corn starch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup red wine (Burgundy works well)
  • 1 12oz can beef broth
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 can sliced tomatoes

Directions

  1. Chop the onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms and potatoes in large chunks and add them to the crock pot.
  2. Crush and chop the garlic and add to the pot along with the thyme and parsley.
  3. Put the flour along with some salt and pepper into a gallon-sized zip-top bag and dredge the beef, shaking off any excess flour.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and brown the meat on all sides, add to the pot after.
  5. If the flour didn’t burn too badly, you can deglaze the pan with the wine and add that to the pot along with the broth, tomatoes and paste
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. Dissolve the corn starch in the water slowly so as not to make any lumps and add that to the pot.
  8. Mix the ingredients together with a large spoon inside the pot to get everything coated and well blended. I usually do all the preparations at night before bed and let the ingredients mingle in the pot overnight and cook it the next day.
  9. I then set my crock pot for 4-6 hrs. on medium. My crock pot will automatically switch to “warm” once the timer is over, so I leave it on warm until we’re ready to eat.
  10. 10 to 20 minutes before serving, mix in the frozen peas. They’ll warm up nicely before you eat, and will not get mushy.

Variations:

This is the basic recipe I use, though, there are other options I’ve been known to use. Butternut squash makes a great substitute for potatoes, I’m sure any firm vegetable will be good in lieu of or along side potatoes. Sauteing the mushrooms in butter before adding them is also a good thing. I’ve also toyed with the idea of adding a little balsamic vinegar to give it a little more depth.

Well that’s it, I’m sorry I didn’t get any good photos of the stew, maybe next time I make it I’ll get some to add.