Thursday, January 13, 2011

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

It is that time of year when soups and stews make frequent appearances on the dinner table. Now, unfortunately, soups and stews are not my kids favorites. I usually have to make them eat these things and I usually fix it for them a little different than I would fix my own. The main thing I do is to reduce the "liquid" part of the soup as much as I can for them, unless it's pinto beans, they love those! So with this beef stew, I separated out the meat and vegetables for them so they would be more appealing to them. OK, enough of how I get my kids to eat soup. This beef stew was really good. I thought I was going to have to add some additional salt and pepper after it cooked, but I didn't. I thought it was perfect. My husband, of course, put hot sauce on it, because he does that to everything. I try not to take it as an insult, because he really does do it to almost everything.

I usually use a seasoning packet, typically McCormick's, when making beef stew. And since I'm trying to get away from those, unless I'm really in need of an easy dinner, I searched for a homemade one. The problem I kept coming back to was that a lot of them used some sort of tomato sauce/paste in them and/or they used beef broth. I didn't want to use either. The reason I didn't want to use beef broth was because all the ones I found had MSG in them, which is something I try to avoid if I can. And tomato sauce just turned me off. Another great thing about this one, is that it didn't take long to get together, and then the slow cooker did all the work for me. I mean you do have to cut up a few veggies, but after that, it's easy peasy. This is one to try if you're looking for a "healthier" beef stew.

pay no attention to the picture, I didn't take much time to try and make this look good. haha

Slow Cooker Beef Stew
adapted from hot 107.3

1 pound cubed beef stew meat
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (I used freshly ground.)
4 cups water
1 onion, finely diced
1-2 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, quartered
3 potatoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup cornstarch (you may be able to use flour as well)

Spray slow cooker with nonstick spray. Place stew meat in the bottom of slow cooker. Add salt, pepper, water, onion, celery, potatoes, carrots, paprika, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaf. Stir to mix ingredients, and cover.

Place slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours.
Remove bay leave from stew, add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch at a time and mix, to thicken stew. After mixing let sit for a few minutes to thicken, if not to desired thickness add more flour or cornstarch and repeat. I ended up using the whole 1/4 of a cup.

Once thickened, it's ready to eat! Serve over brown rice and/or with hot corn bread.

This recipe is linked to Prairie Story Recipe Swap Thursday and Mangos and Chutney.

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