Saturday, October 09, 2010

Slow Cooker Saturdays: Crockpot Beef Stew

Crockpot Beef Stew

In many ways I'm just like my Grandmother Rachel. I love to bake and clip recipes. I like to stretch my creative muscles, and while I'm not at all a seamstress as she was I do enjoy crafts. I like my home kept a certain way, and I love to hang my laundry outside so it's a good thing that I still have her clothesline in the backyard. I also love to feed my family, and a Sunday lunch at home means a lot now that I'm a mother. We had a lot of great lunches in the same kitchen I cook in now, but that's where the similarities end, because unlike her I'm not a morning person. She was somehow able to get up early enough to cook breakfast and get lunch mostly ready - all before going to church. I struggle to send Cash to church with matching shoes and a belly filled with cold cereal.

Much like many of your grandmothers mine was a domestic heroine. I'll never know how she did it all, but I'll always strive to be just like her in so many ways. Thus, it's a good thing the crockpot was invented, because between you and me it's the only thing that helps me get a hot meal on the table on Sunday afternoons! This is a basic, simple stew, but it's homey and comforting and hits the spot - especially a rumbly tumbly spot that's hungry after church. I pair it with a hunk of fresh garlic bread and a big glass of cold, sweet tea. And I think it would be a meal that Maw Maw would have gladly served her family, too.

What are your favorite crockpot meals?

Crockpot Beef Stew
Adapted from Allrecipes
Makes about 6 servings
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For most crockpot recipes cooks are guided to season and flour the meat then brown it evenly before adding it to the slow cooker. I have made this stew both ways, skipping the browning when I'm tired or short on time. I tend to put this stew together late Saturday night - cooking it on low all night - then get up Sunday morning and turn off the crockpot. The stew stays warm and is ready - and not overcooked - when we arrive home. The browning does give the stew more depth of flavor, but in my opinion is not necessary for this recipe.

Ingredients
2 pounds beef chunk or round, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium potatoes, chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
Half cup button mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1.5 cups beef broth (or 1 cup broth and half cup red wine)

Directions
1. Cover inside of crockpot with nonstick spray. Put meat in bottom.
2. In a small bowl, whisk flour, salt and pepper. Pour over meat and stir to coat. Add onions, potatoes, carrots, celery and mushrooms. Drop in bay leaf.
3. In same small bowl, whisk garlic, broth, paprika, thyme and Worcestershire. Pour over meat and vegetables, gently stirring to combine.
4. Cook 10 to 12 hours on low heat, or 4 to 6 hours on high heat. Remove bay leaf before serving, and serve hot.