Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Best Slow Cooker Beef Stew

The Best Slow Cooker Beef Stew

I was given a challenge by my friend Maureen to find her the best beef stew recipe that will bring her family runny back asking for more. I just love a cooking challenge and beef stew was a dish I hadn't really made before, or at least, I didn't have a favorite go-to-recipe to call my own. Until now that is!
In addition to it being flavorful and delicious, that was a given, she gave me 3 requirements. It had to be simple to prepare, cost efficient to feed her large hungry family and most of all, it must have lots and lots of gravy. I mean mucho gravy with every serving. I read many recipes and tips for days, learned a few things along the way and created my new go-to-recipe! 

I have discovered that making stew is more of an art. Here are a few of my tips to making a great beef stew.
  1. Brown the meat first but do not coat with flour. Using flour only browns the flour. Instead, brown the meat to bring out the natural sugars. This will add a rich flavor to the stew that you can't create without. 
  2. Deglazing the bottom of the pot with red wine to get all the little brown bits. This will add so much flavor to the stew.
  3. Use chicken broth as the braising liquid which marries so well with the red wine. 
  4. The best cut of meat to use is chuck steak. It has just the right amount of fat and is the perfect quality to use to make a good beef stew.  If you use the "ready for stew" meat that's already cut up at the grocery store, it won't be as good.  
Ready, let's cook! 

Every step is worth it and will only take about 30 minutes for the prep work before everything is in the slow cooker and you can go about your day and come home to this! 

The Best Slow Cooker Beef Stew


  • 2 - 3 pounds chuck steak, cut into 1.5 inch cubes (pat the meat dry using a paper towel)
  • 1 onion, cut into pieces
  • 4 large celery sticks, cut into pieces
  • 4 large carrots, cut into pieces
  • 6-8 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2-3 Tbls olive oil
  • 1 Tbls butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 Tbls of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp of dried thyme
  • 3 Tbls of brown sugar
  • 2 Tbls of Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 6 tablespoons of flour (used as a thickener towards the end of cooking) 
  • 1 cup of frozen peas (optional)
Chuck Steaks

  1. In two batches, using a large dutch oven or skillet, heat oil and butter over medium high heat. Brown the meat on both sides. Don't move the meat once it's in the pot until after 1-2 minutes to be sure it browns and caramelizes nicely. To really brown the meat, this may take 5-8 minutes. Remove the meat into another bowl and reserve. 
  2. Place cut up vegetables in the skillet that the meat came out of and let them slightly brown. Add 1/4 cup of flour to the vegetables and toss. Cook for about 1-2 minutes until the flour darkens. At this point, take all the vegetables and put into the slow cooker and than add the meat on top of the vegetables with any accumulated juices.  
  3. Deglaze the skillet with the wine, scrape all the goodness from the bottom and sides, don't leave any behind! This will take about 2-3 minutes on medium/ high heat. The wine will reduce and than pour this mixture over the meat in the slow cooker. Don't leave any behind!
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the tomato paste, thyme, brown sugar, Worcestershire, garlic, salt, and pepper with the chicken broth. Pour over meat in slow cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours or high for 4-5 hours.  I prefer to cook on low heat when using the slow cooker.  
  5. 30 minutes before you are ready to serve the stew. Ladle 2-3 cups or more of broth into a medium size mixing bowl. Whisk in the 6 Tbls of flour, 1 Tbls at a time. Keep whisking until there are no lumps. Pour this mixture into the slow cooker with the frozen peas and stir. 
  6. The stew is ready when the vegetables are fork tender and the meat is tender and delicious. 
Note: I prefer not to coat the meat with flour when browning as this only browns the flour and not the meat. Also, don't salt and pepper the meat before browning, this will bring out the juices and you want the meat to be dry when browning. This will give you the best results.  

Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment