Beef Stew Recipe for Your Crock Pot
This time of year I love to make a big batch of beef stew that’s good for a couple of nights worth of meals with left overs that can be frozen for a quick meal when you don’t feel like cooking. Preparing it in a crock pot is a perfect way to make a great stew by cooking it slowly without having to pay much attention to it.
If you are interested in making it more traditionally and not in a crockpot, check out my more classic Beef Stew recipe.
It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to prep the ingredients before adding to a crockpot, then you let it cook all day until dinner time. I don’t like to leave anything cooking while I’m not at home, but I have friends who will prep a meal in the morning and let it cook all day while they are at work.
The beef came from Costco and was already cut up into cubes. I’m not sure what cut of beef it was, it said, “Beef Stew Meat” on the package. I typically use meat cut from the chuck or beef round but you can use just about any part of the cow for stew. Obviously, you don’t want to use expensive cuts if you are going to cook it all day.
In fact, I think the stew meat I purchased at Costco was a little too lean and although tasty, was a little dry. You’re better off with cuts that have more connective tissue and fat for two reasons. One, they will be cheaper and two, the more fat, the more flavor.
3 pounds of beef stew meat, cut to uniform cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
red wine to deglaze the pan
2 yellow onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
6 regular carrots or an equal amount of those prepared little carrots, cut up into little pieces.
3 stalks of celery, cut up into like sized pieces
1 small can of diced tomatoes (approx 14.5 oz)
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon paprika
Salt & pepper, to taste
How To Prepare At Home
Start by heating up one tablespoon of oil in a large saute or fry pan until hot but not smoking. We're going to brown the beef cubes in stages so start with 1/3 of the beef and brown until all sides are brown. Add the meat to the crock pot. Then add another tablespoon of oil and brown the next batch and then the third.
When all the beef is browned and in the crock pot, deglaze the pan with a little bit of red wine. If you don't want to use red wine, substitute a little of the beef stock. Let the wine cook down to an essence.
Now add the onion and garlic. There should be enough liquid in the pan to saute the onion and garlic but if not, just add a little bit of oil to the pan. When the onion and garlic are lightly browned, add them to the crockpot.
Next add the carrots and celery to the pan and saute for 5 minutes before adding them to the crockpot. You could just add the carrots and celery directly to the crockpot but I like to brown them just a little for an extra layer of flavor.
Add the diced tomatoes, beef stock, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, and paprika to the crockpot and stir to combine all the ingredients. Add a little salt and pepper but you will be adjusting seasoning when the beef stew is almost finished.
Be careful not to add to much salt to the stew if the beef stock is loaded with salt. It's easier to add later and impossible to remove if too much is added.
Let this cook in the crock pot for at least 6 hours or until the beef is tender. Depending on whether you set the crock pot on high or low, the cooking time will vary but in the end you will know it is done when the meat is fork tender.
Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. You can serve this with fresh bread, mashed potatoes, rice, egg noodles or by itself.
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