Sunday, March 16, 2008

the best slow cooker beef stew

Sundays at my house are a little bit chaotic, consequently I like to make things in the crock pot for dinner. This week I made stew and it turned out very well. I was a little hesitant of the vegetable foil packet the recipe says to use but it worked very well.

Ok so some of the recipes I post are not fantastic but this one is. I got a new magazine that I am really liking. It is called cooks country and is made by the same people that write cooks illustrated the difference is the recipes are not as fancy. Anyway I made this recipe and it was awesome!! I think Matt told me 3 times that ti was really good. and It is really easy to make.

Here is the recipe as printed in the magazine, with some notes from me.

5 pounds boneless beef chuck-eye roast trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes ( I used WAY less meat than that. I just had nice stew meat from the butches and I used about 1 1/2 lbs)
salt and pepper
3 tbs vegetable oil
4 medium onions, chopped fine (I just used 1, I thought 4 sounded like a lot of onions)
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
2 cups beef broth (I used bullion)
3 TBSP soy sauce
1 pound carrots peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 pound parsnips pealed and cubed (I didn't have any so I skipped it)
1/12 tsp thyme (I didn't have any)
2 bay leaves (I did not have any so I did not use it)
2 TBSP minuet tapioca
2 cups frozen peas

1. Dry beef with paper towel, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 TBSP oil in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Add half of beef and brown on all sides, about 8 minute. Transfer to slow cooker.
2. Add 1 tbsp oil, onions and 1/4 tsp salt to empty skillet and cook until golden brown, about 6 minuets. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring well, for 2 minutes. Add both and soy sauce bring to simmer, and transfer to slow cooker insert.
Toss carrots, parsnips, potatoes, thyme and remaining oil in bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap veg in foil packet that will fit in slow cooker. Stir bay leaves and tapioca into slow cooker; set veg packet on top of beef.
4. Set slow cooker to high , cover, and cook 6 to 7 hours (or 10 to 11 on low) Transfer veg packet to plate. Carefully open and stir veg and juices into stew. Add peas and let stand until heated through.

Here is what the magazine cooks said about it:

The time saved by using a slow cooker is too often an excuse for mediocre flavor. Beef stew is a case in point. Most slow cooker recipes simply dump the ingredients together in the cooker and simmer the mix for hours and hours. The resulting “stew” is bland as can be and pale, too. We wanted beef stew from the slow cooker that tasted every bit as good as a stovetop stew. Here’s what we discovered:

Test Kitchen Discoveries

  • Brown the meat and onions on the stovetop to intensify their flavor and deepen the color of the stew.
  • Steam the vegetables in a “hobo pack,” a packet made of aluminum foil, atop the meat and broth to prevent them from drying out. Stir them into the stew just before serving so that they maintain their firm texture.
  • Add a little soy sauce to intensify the flavor and darken the color of the broth.
  • Thicken the stew with instant tapioca to avoid any starchiness in the broth.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Thank you so much for posting this!! I had the magazine with this stew in it, but then I lost the magazine. I went in search of and found your sight. My stew is in the slow cooker now, thanks to you!! My family thanks you also!

It really is the best stew ever!!