Stew is one of the easiest, most comforting foods to make. With slightly more attention this slow cooker recipe would work just as well in a Dutch oven or even in a kettle on the stove-top or over a fire. You hardly need a recipe, but the dredging the meat in flour before browning it and the generous use of red wine featured here, really makes this stew tasty.
I used the cheapest hunk of beef I could find – this time that turned out to be a three pound rib roast, but another cut or even lamb or venison would be just as good.
- 3 lbs beef
- 3 large potatoes
- 2 large onions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2-3 carrots
- 2-3 sticks of celery
- 2 large dollops of tomato paste
- sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 1 handful flour
- 3 large pinches salt
- 2 large pinches pepper
- 2 pinches rosemary’
- 1/4 handful thyme
- 2 cups red wine
- 1 cup broth
- 3 splashes Worcestershire sauce
- 4+ tbls oil
Chop meat into cubes, small enough to fork into your mouth, but not too small – this is cooking for guys, after all.
Chop carrots,celery and potatoes into similarly sized pieces. Place these vegetables into your slow cooker. Add broth and thyme, and set heat to low.
Mix together flour, salt, pepper and rosemary. Dredge your cubed meat in the flour mixture, coating all sides.
Heat oil in an iron skillet, a few tablespoons at a time. Sear floured beef cubes on all sides in hot oil. Keep the meat moving with your spatula, scraping flour up to prevent it from burning to the pan; add more oil as needed. Place browned meat into slow cooker. If you have any flour mixture left over from dredging the meat, sprinkle that on top. Spoon in two large dollops of tomato paste and splash with Worcestershire sauce.
Peel and chop onions and garlic. Sauté in the pan you used to brown the meat. Cook until onions turn clear and begin to caramelize. Add cooked onions and garlic to slow cooker.
If you choose to use mushrooms, cut them up and dry sauté them after removing the onions. Once the mushrooms release their moisture you can add them to the pot. Any mushrooms will work, but boletes, chanterelles, or morels would be particularly good in this stew.
Pour two cups of red wine into skillet. Scrape pan as the wine heats, mixing any residual flour and drippings into the wine. When hot, pour into slow cooker, Stir everything together and cook until potatoes are tender. This could be all day on low or about three hours on high. Three or four hours in a hot Dutch oven, rotated every fifteen minutes to avoid scorching and renewing the coals as needed. It will take considerably longer if it is cold out or you use fewer coals. If you cook this stove-top or over a fire, stir frequently to keep the flour from scorching.