Slow Cooked Comfort

Beefstew300If there’s ever been a time that called for steaming comfort food more than the last few days, I can’t remember it. Negative temperatures, howling winds — Polar Vortex indeed.

I made a big pot of beef stew on Sunday in preparation for the storm, and it was welcomed both for dinner and for lunch the next day. But what if I hadn’t had a Sunday afternoon to let it simmer on the stove?

So I set out to modify the recipe for a slow cooker.

One of the keys to a great beef stew is the sear on the beef. While it does require an extra pan and an extra step, if at all possible, don’t skip it. But if time simply doesn’t allow, you can just coat the meat with salt, pepper and flour and throw it in the pot with all the other ingredients except the carrots and potatoes which should be added at the end so they don’t overcook.

Get this started in the morning, and you’ll have a wonderful warming dinner on the table in the evening.

SLOW-COOKER BEEF STEW

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Stout beer gives this stew an incredible flavor, but you can use any beer you like. Just avoid hoppy beers like IPAs or the stew will have a bitter flavor.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 11/2- to 2-inch cubes

Salt and pepper to taste

Flour for coating

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup canned beef broth

1 cup stout or other beer

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 bay leaves

2 large carrots, cut into thick slices

8 redskin potatoes, halved or quartered

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil. Toss the meat with salt, pepper and flour. Add to skillet. Cook until well browned on all sides. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meat to a slow cooker. Add onion and garlic to skillet. Cook until tender. Add to cooker. Add broth and beer to skillet. Bring to a boil. Pour into slow cooker. Add thyme and bay leaves to cooker. Cover and cook on low until beef is tender, about 6 to 7 hours. Add carrots and potatoes. Cook until tender, about 1 hour. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.



Categories: Recipes

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