Slow Cooker Hearty Beef Stew

Total Time
10hrs 30mins
Prep 30 mins
Cook 10 hrs

I've never been a big fan of beef stew, but I really enjoy this recipe that I got from Cook's Country. The meat comes out fork-tender, the broth is rich and just thick enough to coat a spoon, and the vegetables are perfectly cooked. This way of preparing beef stew keeps the vegetables from turning to mush by steaming them on top of the stew in a "hobo pack". The stew is thickened without giving it a starchy texture by using Minute Tapioca. Also, you get a big beefy flavor by slipping in a few tablespoons of soy sauce. It takes a little more prep time, but you can do most of the prep for this recipe the night before the ingredients go into the slow cooker. I think the extra time preparing it is worth it! Just prepare the recipe through step 7 and refrigerate the browned beef and onion mixture in separate containers. In the morning, just transfer everything to the slow cooker and proceed with step 8. The cooking time will run to the high end of the ranges given in the recipe. If you're going to be away from your slow cooker for more than 10 hours, cutting the vegetables into larger, 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces will help them retain their texture.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Dry beef with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 1 T oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.
  3. Add half of beef and brown on all sides, about 8 minutes.
  4. Transfer to slow cooker inset and repeat with remaining beef (you shouldn't need more oil).
  5. Add 1 T oil, onions and 1/4 t salt to empty skillet and cook until golden brown, about 6 minutes.
  6. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring well, for 2 minutes.
  7. Add broth and soy sauce, bring to a simmer and transfer to slow-cooker inset.
  8. Toss carrots, parsnips, potatoes, 1/2 t thyme, and remaining 1 T oil in bowl.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Wrap vegetables in foil packet that will fit in slow cooker.
  11. Note: To make the pack, place the vegetables on one side of a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  12. Fold the foil over, shaping it into a packet that will fit into your slow cooker, then crimp to seal the edges.
  13. Stir bay leaves and tapioca into slow-cooker insert; set vegetable packet on top of beef.
  14. Set slow cooker to high, cover, and cook for 6-7 hours (or cook on low for 10 hours-11 hours).
  15. Transfer vegetable packet to plate.
  16. Carefully open packet (watch for steam) and stir vegetables and juices into stew.
  17. Add remaining 1 t thyme and peas and let stand until heated through.
  18. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.


Most Helpful

Good tasting recipe. Did make a few changes~~had no tapioca so I floured the meat , browning it
with the onions.
Did not make a foil pack~just put everything in crock pot and cooked for 5 hours on low.
Added a few pinches of sugar to decrease the tartness of the tomato paste.
Good but a bit to tomato tasting, Good but not my favorite.

mamawJ January 09, 2013

This stew is WONDERFUL! I did not have parsnips but did add celery. Cooking in the hobo pack works great, plan to try it with other recipes. Did not have tapioca, so thickened it slightly with corn starch just before serving. What a beautiful dish, the colors were just perfect! Thanks for sharing.

Galley Wench April 28, 2009

Great recipe, Lainey! I too subscribe to Cook's Country magazine and saw you had posted it here just when I direly needed it to fix for my friend and her husband after her kidney transplant. I almost perfectly halved the recipe, but added some of my favorites; fresh sliced mushrooms while sauteeing the onions, and some rutabaga, yam, and celery along with the carrots in the steam packet. I used 1 can of low sodium beef broth and about a cup of home-made gravy left from last night's dinner, and 1 tablespoon of the quick tapioca. I'm sure it came out just the consistency as you describe (coats the back of a spoon), and is wonderful for dipping dinner rolls...YUM! I left out the soy sauce because of the health problem and because I used the leftover gravy. I have a Corning large round crockpot, and it seems to run really hot. I started everything out on high, after 4 hours dumped the steamed vegies back in and let it just sit to get the gravy and veggies to blend, and the veggies were still holding together for packing, freezing and reheating. Thanks Lainey! Dee-Lish.

Chef PotPie February 26, 2008

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