Prep 45 mins
Cook 8 hrs
I don't really like beef stew. I know, weird, huh? I like it more than pot roast but even as a little kid I was never terribly fond of beef stew. I think it's a long cooked beef thing. But last week I wanted to invite friends over for dinner and only a weeknight could work. That meant crock pot (we had a party to go to that evening so time was too short for much cooking at all), but I needed a relatively failsafe recipe. I was entertaining guests after all. Well, crock pots are great for things like stew. So I got out all my recipe books and got on my googling hat... and came up with this. Beef stew to awe those who don't like beef stew :)
- 2 1⁄2 lbs chuck roast
- 1⁄3 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3⁄4 teaspoon ground sage
- 4 -6 tablespoons bacon grease or 4 -6 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 1⁄2-2 cups beef broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1⁄2 cups carrots, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1⁄2 cup frozen peas
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 4 -6 cups chopped root vegetables (such as potatoes, parsnip, turnip, garlic, onion or sweet potatoes)
- 2 -4 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- The night before:.
- Trim and cut beef into fork sized chunks. Remove most of the gristle and fat, but some will add texture and flavor to the stew.
- In a zip bag or pie plate combine flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper and ground sage. Taste to make sure it is salty enough to not just taste like flour. Mix beef chunks into flour mixture and coat well.
- Heat cooking oil in a cast iron skillet and cover the bottom of the pan with beef chunks. Make sure to not crowd the pan and brown until at least a couple sides of each chunk are good and browned. Remove to a bowl that will fit all the beef, easily be covered and can go in your refrigerator. Repeat with the rest of the meat When all the meat is browned deglaze the pan with red wine, stir and scrape the browned bits off the bottom and simmer for a minute or two to reduce the liquid. Scrape the liquid into the bowl with the beef. (I did two batches of meat in my 12 inch cast iron and then deglazed the pan, rinsed it and did a third batch. I didn't want the browned bits to get too burned but your pan/stove/etc may be different).
- Wipe or rinse the pan and heat up another tablespoon or so of fat. Sautee the onions and celery until tender, seasoning with salt, pepper and maybe some thyme, or ground rosemary or even more ground sage. Deglaze or scrape the pan and add the vegetables to the bowl of beef. Place the bowl in the fridge.
- Wash and chop root vegetables into 1 1/2 - 2 inch chunks. Place in a zippy bag or large covered container in the fridge.
- In the morning:.
- Place the carrots in the bottom of your crock pot. Pour beef, onions and all the juice from the bowl in the crock pot. Combine the tomato paste with some of the stock and stir to combine. Pour the tomato and all the stock into the crock pot. I added beef broth until it was just under the level of the beef. Tuck the bay and rosemary in the liquid. I wrapped my rosemary in cheesecloth so I wouldn't have to fish out individual rosemary leaves.
- Turn heat to low and cook for 8-10 hours. Mine cooked for 9 hours and was perfect.
- In the evening:.
- Turn the oven to 375. Place chopped root vegetables in a baking pan and coat with olive or coconut oil. Salt and pepper liberally and stir to combine everything. Roast until the veggies are tender and browned. Feel free to crank the heat to 425 if they are tender but not yet brown and you are hungry. Should take 20-30 minutes depending on how big your chunks are.
- Stir the stew, remove bay and rosemary and taste for seasonings. Mine didn't need any more salt but yours might. I did add a tsp of red wine vinegar and it really perked things up. I recommend you do the same :) I also left the cover off while the veggies roasted to allow everything to thicken up a bit more.
- Defrost peas (I used hot water, but you could throw them frozen into the crock pot half an hour before serving if you remember, like I didn't :) and add them to the stew.
- Serve by putting veggies in each bowl and pouring stew over top. Serve with buttered bread, red wine and maybe some pickled carrots or a salad.
- Alternative if you don't own or don't use a crock pot:.
- Instead of putting beef and carrots and stock in a crock pot, put it in a heavy stock pot. Simmer on the stovetop for a couple hours, or bring to a boil and then place in a 350 degree oven for a couple hours. Proceed as above.