Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hearty Slow Cooker Beef Stew




October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came -
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band. 
― George Cooper 
(Excerpt from his poem "October Party")


I like the idea of regarding autumn as October's party.  Instead of bemoaning the summer's passing, I'm determined to appreciate God's beautiful palette, the aroma of hot apple cider, and the joy of bountiful harvests. I smile at the sight of pumpkins and corn shocks decorating fence posts and porches, and I'm grateful for the comfort of a warm sweater to fend off the morning chill. Perhaps most of all I relish the return of soups and stews to our menu.  

Last week I saw stew meat in the clearance section of our supermarket meat department (50% off I tell you!), so I snatched it up and hurried home with my prize.  I say "prize" because beef prices have skyrocketed. (Or have you noticed?) 

The next day I made my Hearty Slow Cooker Beef Stew and it was everything I had hoped for. . .tender meat and earthy vegetables in a savory sauce.

Comfort food.  Autumn's reward.

My Hearty Slow Cooker Beef Stew

I took the stew to our Tuesday night Bible study potluck and our group devoured it.  

The trick to making really good beef stew in a slow cooker is to brown the meat first.  Dredge it in flour and sear it in a little oil. This is a must. It just is.

In case you want to make your own yummy bound-to-be-devoured beef stew, I'm sharing my recipe.  You can substitute or add any veggies you want. I use Mrs. Dash instead of salt just to keep our salt intake down.  Use whatever you like in yours.

Hearty Slow Cooker Beef Stew


1-1/4 lb stew meat, cut in 1” pieces
1 – 2 heaping Tbsp flour
Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large carrots, cut in 1” pieces
1 large onion, roughly chopped
8 large mushrooms, quartered
3 large potatoes, cut in 1” pieces
3 fresh tomatoes diced, or 8 oz diced canned tomatoes with juice
1 can beef broth
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Mrs. Dash Table Seasoning
Ground Pepper
Dried Thyme
1 Bay Leaf

(1 Tbsp cornstarch whisked with 1 Tbsp cold water for thickening juices at the end of cooking time.)

Heat olive oil in heavy skillet, add minced garlic and saute slightly.
Add stew meat dredged in flour, season with Mrs. Dash, ground pepper and thyme.
Sear meat and transfer it to the slow cooker.
Add all the cut-up veggies to the meat.

Deglaze skillet with beef broth.
Add Worchestershire Sauce to broth and stir to blend.
Pour broth mixture over meat and veggies in slow cooker and stir just enough to combine.
Add bay leaf.

Cover and cook for 1-1/2 hour on High, then finish cooking on low until meat is tender.
(8 hours total works well in my 6 qt. slow cooker.)


Drain juices into a saucepan, thicken, and stir back into the stew before serving.


Homemade beef stew simmering in the slow cooker.  I can't think of a better way to party with October.

How do you party with October?





33 comments:

  1. Yummy! I have a roast about to go in the oven. Well the broiler oven. Sure hope it works.
    Still no oven! Your stew looks so yummy. I'll be making stew If there is any left over roast!
    Thanks for coming over! Have a great Wednesday!

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    1. My hubby's mentioned pot roast a couple of time lately. I think that's going to be on our menu very soon. Hope you get your oven situation resolved soon and I hope tonight's roast turns out great. xxx

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  2. I love this month. The stew looks so good and I am saving the recipe. A slow cooker is on my Christmas list this year.

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    1. I'd be lost without my slow cooker, Betty. I use it all the time. xxx

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  3. Nancy, this looks delicious! I am going to try it for sure! One of my favorite things about this time of year is the comfort food :)

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    1. If you try the recipe, Julie, I'd like to know how it turns out. xxx

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  4. This sounds like a wonderful recipe. similar to my own but I don't do the mushrooms because SOMEONE does not like them. There is nothing like the smell of beef stew simmering away, is there? You are so right- the TRICK to it in the crock pot is the browning of the meat first. It makes all the difference in the taste. Hope you have a good night, Nancy. xo Diana

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  5. Oh I am glad you linked. I am sorry I didn't invite you. I got bogged down on thinking of stew! It is a lovely post. Feel free to link any Fall themed post new or old. Recipes, decorating, crafty DIY's.
    The more the merrier!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. I'm glad the stew was so distracting. LOL

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  6. I agree...browning the meat is the key for rich flavor! Great recipe and good tips! Hugs, Diane

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    1. Thank you, Diane. Hope you're having a great October.

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  7. YUM! I'm going to do a crock pot pot roast on Thursday. I love coming home to the smell of something delicious cooking :)

    xox

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  8. Good Afternoon Nancy, What a lovely way to welcome Autumn, making a rich beef stew. I love Autumn, because of the warming food which we can enjoy. I will certainly be trying your recipe as I know my husband will love it.
    Best Wishes to you.
    Daphne

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Daphne. If you do try the recipe I hope your husband and you both enjoy it. xxx

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  9. Oh your beef stew sounds so comforting! Comfort foods are my favorite. Autumn is also my favorite season! Lovely poem as well dearie! Thank you for your sweet comment on my last post! I made chicken soup! :) xoxoxoxo Jen

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    1. Homemade chicken soup is so good. I haven't made it for awhile, Jen, but now I think I might have to.

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  10. Definitely looks like a wonderful, hearty fall evening meal!! :)
    Susan

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  11. Just found your blog through the Strangers & Pilgram's site, and I have added you to my reader list - love what I've found so far! And I too love the fact that come fall, it is time to make hearty soups and stews! One of our favorites is stew as well, and I agree - browning the meat makes a huge difference overall! I use mostly venison for our roasts and stews, which saves us a lot of money every year, as we process the meat ourselves.

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    1. You're so nice, thank you. It's always fun to make new friends. Venison is very popular here where we live, and I've tasted some really good dishes that feature it. Thanks for visiting. . .I'll be stopping by shortly. :)

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  12. Guess what I am going to make tomorrow . . . PERFECT!
    Off to the store I go . . . (In the morning!)

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    1. Best of luck with the stew, Lynne. (I bet you'll leave out the mushrooms. LOL)

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    2. I am making Your Beef Stew right now. I will send you a picture.
      Chili is a family favorite. I make a Red and a White Chilie and I meet my kids and the grands at the front door with their plastic containers in hand so they can have "take aways!"
      There are so many of us now that I start early with my shopping, cookie up the sausage and ground beef for the red and the chicken for the white. Freeze it and then on the 30th I will make up the chillies. All ready for the Trick or Treat doorbell to ring. Maybe this year some neighbors will stop too.

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  13. Hi Nancy, I love the cooler weather for the return of soups and stews also! I have a good recipe, but like the idea of making it in the crock pot. Pinned. Thanks for sharing it with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. Thanks, Jann. One reason I like using the crock pot is that the stew meat is so tender. Have a great day. xxx

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  14. Oh yummy, this is comfort food for sure! My mom used to make stews for us in the Winter in NY and boy, it brought me memories I so cherish! Thanks for the recipe, I'm copying it! Loved your visit...thanks a lot! The girls had a ball!
    Have a lovely weekend.
    FABBY

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    1. Yes, comfort food is what it is, Fabby. My mother didn't really cook stews like your mother, but I have fond memories of her pot roast dinners. And, oh, how she could bake! Family, friends and food all go together, don't they? xxx

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  15. We don't own a slow cooker, but my husband likes to make stew so I will pass this recipe on to him.

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    1. If he makes it, I hope you'll both enjoy it. xxx

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  16. This sounds amazing - perfect for autumn and winter! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,
    Kathy

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  17. I love beef stew and whenever I make it, I am taken back to bitter cold snowstorm-y days, when my brother, sister, and I would arrive home from school with freezing toes, and instantly be warmed by the aroma of mom's beef stew, which actually is very similar to your recipe, with the addition of allspice and cinnamon. Thanks for sharing your very appetizing pics!

    xx
    Poppy

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