food · penny pinchin' · recipes · what's for dinner?

crockpot beef stew

I like to use my crockpot on Sundays as much as possible.  I can prep some of the ingredients the night before, and the slow cooker does all the real work.  Stew is one of my favourite things to make this way.
 
The wonderful thing about stew is that you don’t need to be precise.  Whatever you happen to have in your fridge can be added–within reason, of course–and the best part?  You can stretch a bit of meat (and it can be a cheap cut, to boot!) to feed a lot of people.  That was one of the reasons I made stew on this particular day.  I had a large blade roast, but it would not seem like much for the number of guests I would be serving.
 
In case you’re wondering how my crockpot miraculously changed from black to white, I have two, and I used them both this time around.
 
Although I don’t really use a recipe, my stew would be very similar to the Slow Cooker Thick and Chunky Beef Stew recipe from skinnyms.com.  I can’t stress enough:  do not get caught up in measurements.  Just add what you like to fill your crockpot!

Crockpot Beef Stew

Cut into bite-sized pieces:

  • 1+ pounds of beef (remember, I had a large blade roast that I cubed and split between two crockpots.)

Toss the cubed meat in:

  • 1/4 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper (I doubled this for the two pots)
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Brown the meat in a little olive oil.  Be sure to do this in small batches so the meat is not crowded and can brown properly.

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Place the browned meat in the crockpot. Be sure to throw the bone in if your meat has one.  It will add lots of flavour.

Add bite-sized vegetables to fill your pot.  On this particular day, I included:

  • potatoes
  • mushrooms
  • turnip
  • carrots
  • onion
  • celery

You could incorporate any of your favourite veggies:  peas, corn, beans, peppers–whatever you have on hand.

Sprinkle on some herbs.  My go-tos are:

  • fresh, minced garlic (about 4 cloves each pot).  You could use garlic powder.
  • thyme (2 teaspoons or so)
  • rosemary (about 2 teaspoons)
  • salt and pepper to taste (you may need to adjust later)
  • 2 bay leaves

Again…use your favourites.  Perhaps you’d like to use some chili powder for some Southwest flavour or curry–experiment and have fun.

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Pour 2-3 cups of beef broth over all and add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste.  Shake in several splashes of Worcestershire sauce and you’re done.

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Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or 4-6 hours on high.  If the gravy is too thin, you can make a paste with a tablespoon or two of flour and cold water, and add a little at a time till it reaches the desired thickness.  Your stew should be quite bubbly, so simply let it cook for another 5 or ten minutes.

Sorry…we were hungry, so no pictures of the finished stew.  But I tell you, it was delicious served with The Easiest Ever Rolls, and a salad.

On a bit of a side note:

Have you ever wondered how you would ever use up the rest of your tomato paste?  Most recipes only call for a tablespoon or two.  That means you need to make something else requiring tomato paste soon, or risk it spoiling in the fridge.  The answer?  Freeze it.  Freeze it in tablespoon servings.  I have these small silicone cups that work perfectly, but you could just scoop mounds onto parchment, and place in the freezer.  Once the paste is frozen, just place the frozen servings into a freezer bag and remove what you need when you need it!

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Join me at these parties for more inspiration:
Home Matters at Life with Lorelai
Friendship Friday at Create with Joy

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