It’s starting to get a bit colder out, but I’ll admit I jumped the gun on this one. It’s not quite beef stew weather yet—and it definitely wasn’t when I made this a couple weeks ago. I just couldn’t help it! One of my favorite fall/winter meals is my mom’s slow cooker beef stew, and when I saw stew meat on sale at the store, I couldn’t resist. I asked my mom to send her basic method (she doesn’t need a recipe anymore, of course), and I went to town.
Beef stew is such a classic cold weather dish, so I think by posting it now, it should give you plenty of time to add it to your recipe rotation this fall and winter. Since this is made in the slow cooker, it’s ridiculously easy. You can basically just throw everything in the pot in the morning (you can even skip the beef-browning step, but more on that later) and leave it. To make it even faster (and give you an extra few minutes of shut-eye), chop your veg the night before. Crazy easy to add to your slow cooker repertoire.
You’ll need: stew beef, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, frozen peas, a can of tomatoes, some spices (bay leaf, ground cloves, paprika, S&P, and a clove of garlic), Worcestershire, and beef broth (I also added a splash of red wine). Quarter the onion, and the rest of the veggies should be chopped into bite-size pieces.
The first thing to do is brown your beef. My mom says she usually doesn’t even bother with this before work in the morning, but I was making this on a Saturday so I thought I’d make the extra effort (although I probably wouldn’t on a weekday morning). If you are browning your beef, you can brown it with or without flour. If you use flour, it will help thicken the stew. If not, you can add some cornstarch or flour at the end to thicken it if desired.
Mix about 3/4 cup of flour with salt and pepper (amounts to your taste—I used about 1/4 teaspoon each).
Dredge your beef.
Just lightly brown the beef in a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat. You still want a good amount of pink.
Combine your beef, spices, and veggies (except peas) in your slow cooker. My Crock Pot was SO full—so you should probably not attempt this with an extra-small slow cooker.
…Especially after I added the tomatoes. I was worried it would explode. But I care about beef stew more than I care about my $12 slow cooker’s well-being.
Then, set your very full slow cooker on low for 8 hours or high for 4 to 6 hours. 5 to 10 minutes before serving, stir in your frozen peas. You can put them in at the beginning, but they’ll be very mushy and grayish (you know how peas get). I hate mushy peas, so I elected to wait until the end so they’d be bright green and still have some form and texture to them. You can also use frozen green beans.
Then serve! We had this alongside some leftover corn muffins, but it would also be great with some simple dinner rolls—or nothing at all! It’s hearty enough to eat by itself.
The best part is leftovers for lunch. Love some homemade comfort for lunch at work. Yum. Thanks, mom!
Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Adapted from Amy’s mom
1 1/2 lbs. stew beef
3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups thickly sliced carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 1/2 cups chopped potatoes (about 3 regular-sized potatoes, 6 to 8 small)
1 large onion, quartered
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup fat-free, less sodium beef broth or water
Splash of red wine (optional)
1 cup frozen peas
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Mix flour with salt and pepper, to taste, in a shallow dish. Dredge beef, shaking off any excess.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Brown beef for 30 seconds to 1 minute per side, or until lightly browned with pink still visible.
- Add carrots and next ten ingredients (through red wine) to slow cooker. Add beef and mix. Cover and set on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4 to 6 hours.
- 5 to 10 minutes before serving, stir in frozen peas and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf before serving.