Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Delicious Crock Pot Beef Stew

A couple of days ago I was looking in the freezer and pulled out several things to eat this week.  This thawing business seriously cuts into my traditionally impulsive cooking.  I don't know exactly what I am having each day of the week but I at least have a general direction the meals will go.  (Until this morning, that is.)

When I began this process and inventoried the freezer I realized I had 37 steaks. They are all on the small side, but it is still enough for 37 servings, so we have been eating a small steak each week.  I grabbed 4 of them for the week and stuck them in the refrigerator meat compartment.  This morning I was checking to see what had thawed ( my new method of deciding what food to have each night)  The steaks were still solid except for one smallish steak bag.  When I looked at the label on the bag I had written "Stew Meat".  This is what those label spaces are for, so you can know what you are defrosting.  That is for everyone but me.  Did I bother to look at it? Or did I just assume since it looked like a steak it was one?

The upside of today's error was a sudden temperature drop over Dixie.  Yesterday I was wearing shorts around the house.  The low tonight is 30.  A cold night time forecast was the perfect opportunity to eat my accidental thaw.  I knew I was going to leave the house for a bit and decided I needed to cook something in the crock pot.  A quick Google search lead me to and their recipe for Beef Stew 1.  For the sake of simplicity on my part (because I am a simple minded gal who can remember self  explanatory names )  I renamed it.  I changed a couple of things and the recipe below includes the changes.

                                                Delicious  Crock Pot Beef Stew

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes*
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon savory
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 cup beef broth**
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion coarsely chopped
4 carrots cut into bite size pieces
4 small potatoes peeled and cut in 1/2 inch slices
2 ribs of celery sliced in 1/2 inch slices

Put the beef in the bottom of a crock pot.  Mix flour, salt and black pepper together and stir gently to coat the beef pieces with the flour mixture.   Dump  Sprinkle all seasonings over the surface of the meat but do not stir.  Add the beef broth and Worcestershire, then put the cut vegetables, in order, on top of the meat.  Put the lid on the crock and let it cook on low 10-12 hours or on high 4-6 hours.

You are not supposed to open the lid and stir, but I did midway through the cooking time anyway.  I guess the Devil made me do it.  Since I have never made this before I can't tell you if stirring made it worse or not.  No matter!  It was delicious with a thick gravy type sauce. The vegetables were perfectly tender yet retained their shape. There is no "if"but when I do this again (probably next fall ) I will decrease the broth and add at least 1/3 cup of a dry red wine.  I will also add mushrooms and frozen peas to just load this up with vegetables.  I will also increase the celery and carrots but he potato amounts were perfect. And did I mention there is just one dish to clean? Bonus!

We all enjoyed it, and I will be enjoying it again for lunch tomorrow or Thursday.

* I only had 1 lb of stew meat, so I padded mine with 1 small frozen hamburger patty that I cut into pie shaped wedges when it was partially thawed.  I just tossed them in with the beef and floured the wedges.  I was surprised to find they kept their pie shape when the stew was done.

** No beef broth was in the kitchen so I used defatted turkey broth instead.  It worked fine.

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