Some people hate the anecdotal stuff that comes with blogs or blogs with recipes on them, but I figure it is my party and I can anecdote if I want to. So let us begin. I was one of 3 kids growing up with a single mom who worked full time while going to college. One of my favorite meals she would make was slow cooker beef stew. She could just toss everything into the slow cooker before work and then come home to a meal. AMAZING! When I was growing up we hardly ever ate meat, or hardly ever ate beef that was not in the “ground” form. So I used to get super excited and sneak pieces of the raw beef chunks before they went into the crockpot. Many of you are going, “ew, gross” but please understand, a child’s mouth is not always the most discerning of palettes. I used to also eat butter, just butter, or if I was feeling fancy, butter and sugar. Or raw hotdogs. Or raw ramen noodles (just the noodles, like they were crackers). Or a whole can of black olives- straight from the can. It is amazing anyone allows me to cook professionally now. Needless to say, slow cookers and beef stew remind me of my mother and home and the house smelling like delicious food for 10 hours.
- 400g fatty, collagen rich beef (chuck, oxtail, shanks) (cut into tasty chunks)
- onions (2ish, sliced or large dice)
- garlic (2ish, sliced)
- carrots (2 medium sized, large dice)
- celery (4 stalks, sliced)
- potatoes (2 large, large dice) (do not use potatoes if you want to freeze it afterward as the potatoes turn grainy)
- mushrooms (I had shitakes laying about so I used them. My chef friend says it is blasphemous to use both tomatoes and mushrooms. The umami is too much she says. I say MMMMMMMMM mushrooms!! Put them in everything!! Anarchy of flavors!)
- 1 can of peeled tomatoes
- 4-5 cups bouillion (whatever you have lying about your freezer, and if you have none, you can use chicken or beef or vegetable dry bouillion, I prefer chicken though.)
- Spices!!! I like to use salt, pepper, mustard powder, bay leaves and tarragon, but really, you can just pick a theme and go with it. Italian style! Morracan style! The base of the soup listed above is just the armature.
- red wine to deglaze the pan
- flour to coat the beef
- butter (I just love butter… It is not necessary though.)
- sometimes I add bulgar, it makes it into a good one bowl meal.
Take your cut beef and salt and pepper it and coat it in flour. You will heat a heavy bottom skillet with oil and cook the beef in batches. Do not crowd the pan, like your beef should not be piled up on each other. After you gently brown the beef, toss in the onions and garlic with some butter and cook them till they are semi-translucent. Dump those with the browned beef. Now take your hot, gummy, dirty pan with its flour crust and onion bits and toss in a half a cup of red wine, keep it on the heat and scrape the bottom of the pan and mix everything all together. If you want a thicker stew, you can add some more butter and flour at this point and whisk it into a thick gravy. Take it off the heat. Combine everything together with a good toss and put it in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 6-7 hours or on low 8-9 hours.
Serve with bread, french fries, salad, sour cream and or fresh parsley.