Sunday, February 9, 2014

Day Seven - Crock Pot Beef Stew (2.8.14)


Ingredients

    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2-3 cloves)
    • 2 lbs trimmed beef chuck, cut into 1-2-inch cubes
    • 10-15 small red potatoes, cut into cubes
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 2 cups sliced carrots {about 4 good sized carrots}
    • 2 cups sliced celery {about 3 stalks}
    • 1 cup apple juice or apple cider
    • 1 cup beef stock or canned beef broth
    • 3 tomatos, quartered
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
    • 8-oz container of sliced mushrooms {optional}

Instructions


Quick Method for the Beef Stew:
Turn crockpot on low. Toss all vegetables and meat in the crockpot. Combine spices {except bay leaf}, oil, apple juice, beef broth and whisk lightly to combine. Pour over meat and vegetables. Add in bay leaf. Give it all a light stir, cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours, medium 7-8 hours, high 6-7 hours. 

About 30 minutes prior to serving, ladle out about  1/2 cup of liquid from the stew. Whisk in 2 tsp flour and add it back to the stew, stirring gently to combine. This helps thicken it up! If you want it even thicker, you can repeat this process once, waiting about 15 minutes between to double check thickness.

15-20 additional minutes method:
This just gives the stew a better, more developed flavor. It's really not difficult, just a few extra steps but it goes fast. 

Put potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and celery in the crockpot. Have the beef broth and cooking wine measured out and ready.

Heat a frying pan up on high. Add in 2 TBSP oil. Add garlic. Once pan is hot, add beef. You're not trying to cook the meat all the way, you just want to sear it a bit. I let the meat cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring about twice. You want the meat on the bottom of the pan to brown and even coat the pan lightly.  Move meat into the crockpot. 

Do not wash the pan! The technical term here is deglazing- we're going to add liquid that will help loosen up and remove the flavorful meat remnants on the bottom of the pan. Return pan to hot stove top and add remaining 2 TBSP of oil. Once oil is hot, add in the onions. Wait about 3-4 minutes until the onions are beginning to be translucent and are sizzling. Add in cooking wine and beef broth. While the liquid is heating up, add in the spices, except the bay leaf. Once the liquid begins to boil, turn off the heat and pour entire mixture into the crockpot. 

Add mushrooms and bay leaf. Stir lightly to combine and cook on low for 9-10 hours, medium 7-8 hours, high 6-7 hours. 

About 30 minutes prior to serving, ladle out about  1/2 cup of liquid from the stew. Whisk in 2 tsp cornstarch and add it back to the stew, stirring gently to combine. This helps thicken it up! If you want it even thicker, you can repeat this process once, waiting about 15 minutes between to double check thickness.

(Instructions courtesy, i.e. stolen from, Butter with a Side of Bread. Check out their blog here.)

Opinions

Potter: This was another of my "find a bunch of recipes online and pick your favorite ingredients" experiments. For those of you that have eaten my cooking you know that can be hit or miss. I thought this one turned out pretty delicious. It did need a bit of salt and pepper which really should have been included in the recipe but wasn't. We all (Jackie and Dave were over, thanks guys for testing our beef stew with us) added it to our bowls and it turned out just delicious. The apple juice took the flavor up a level though I think it could have used a bit more paprika or a little cayenne just to give it a hint more spice. For those of you that are curious we used the longer method, with deglazing the pan, outlined above.

Katie: This stew was delicious. Like Potter said, we did have to add some more salt and pepper to our bowls that should have just been in the recipe, but once we did that it was great. I agree with Potter that if we wanted to make it even better, we would simply just add a bit more paprika or cayenne pepper to give it a little more kick. Thanks for enjoying the stew with us Jackie and Dave! :)