There’s really nothing better than a hearty beef stew on a crisp, cold day to warm you up. Though I must admit I break the rules and have this even when it’s warm out, just because it is so delicious and easy to make. The great thing about stews is that 1) you can make huge batches and enjoy it throughout the week, 2) you can make it in a slow cooker, which might be one of my favorite kitchen appliances, and 3) they’re easy to customize based on what you have in your fridge.
Below is a recipe for a basic stew, but feel free to replace the veggies with whatever you have on hand. Also, some people like their stew more like a soup, while others like it with little liquid — the recipe below will make a stew right in the middle, but it can be tweaked for your desired consistency.
1 pound cubed stew meat (I prefer chuck)
3 T all purpose flour
2 medium onions, diced
4 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
4 cloves of garlic, minced
8 baby creamer potatoes, cut in half
3 cups beef stock
3 T tomato paste
1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
1.5 t garlic powder
1.5 t onion powder
4 T olive oil
1/2 T beef demi-glace (optional)
1. Remove excess fat from beef, and cut into the size pieces you want. Toss in flour to coat.
2. In a heavy-bottomed pot (I use my trusty Le Creuset Dutch Oven) over medium-high heat, warm 2tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Then add the garlic, carrots, and potatoes and cook until the carrots have lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables, and set aside.
3. In the same pot, add the remaining olive oil and the coated beef. Sear on all sides but do not cook through.
4. Add all the vegetables, broth, herbs, spices, tomato paste, and demi-glace to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1.5 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Serve with crusty bread.
Other additions that would taste great: turnips, parsnips, bell peppers, tomatoes, celery… pretty much anything. And adding wild rice, quinoa, or lentils makes it even heartier and thicker!
Note: If you want to make this in a slow cooker, at step 4, just add everything into a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. Just make sure to deglaze your pan with a little bit of stock to get all the nice bits of flavor, and add that too the slow cooker too.