I think it is safe to say I am slow cooker obsessed.
Let me preface all of this by saying, yes, I know I am WAAAAAY late to the slow cooker game. For a while now, everyone has been telling me that I needed to get one. Given my busy work schedule and limited time in the evenings, I always acknowledged it would be a very helpful appliance to have in my kitchen. I loved the idea of coming home from a long day of work and having dinner already made and ready to eat!
When I arrived back to LA last week from my trip to Boston, there was a GIGANTIC package sitting on my porch. I was ecstatic when I opened it up to find a new shiny slow cooker from my brother and sister-in-law for the holidays! Seriously. Perfect. Gift. Remember when I told you Dave is the #1 gift giver? Well, he and Morgan nailed it again.
I broke in my slow cooker this weekend by making a delicious beef stew.
Travis and I prepped everything after breakfast on Sunday morning and then threw it all into the slow cooker for 7 hours.
I have made beef stews in my dutch-oven before, but despite long cooking times in an oven on very low heat, I still always found the beef was never as tender as I would have liked. I was excited to see what would happen to the beef this time by using the slow cooker.
Holy Moly, was this beef tender! It was falling apart just by the slightest touch from my fork.
That is exactly the way I like it.
The best part was that when the evening rolled around (Sunday evening always seems to come too soon, doesn’t it?), I didn’t have to do anything! I just stirred in a few final ingredients and the stew was warm and ready to eat!
This was the most delicious beef stew I have ever had. The addition of the brown ale really amps up the flavor in the broth and after slow cooking all day, the beef, carrots, and potatoes were so tender and soaked with rich flavor through and through.
Travis and I couldn’t get enough of it. It was one of those meals where we both sat there not talking to each other, just saying “Mmmmm” with every bite we took.
Yup, I am so hooked on slow cooking. I am honestly sorry I waited this long to try it! If any of you guys have great slow cooker recipes, please pass them my way. I am ready to try everything!
Slow Cooker Beef Stew
2 lbs trimmed boneless chuck roast, cut into 2 inch pieces (I recommend buying 2.5lbs because once you trim the excess fat it will be about 2 lbs)
1.5 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon pepper, divided
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
6 large garlic cloves, minced
2 large yellow onions, sliced in half and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
12oz Nut Brown Ale (I used Samuel Smiths Nut Brown Ale)
1 1/4 cups unsalted beef stock, divided* (I used Stock Options Classic Beef Stock)
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
1 lb red potatoes, quartered
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
Parsley for serving
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the beef with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Add about a teaspoon of oil to the pan. Add half of the beef to the pan, cook for 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the beef from the pan and place in a heat-proof bowl. Repeat by adding another teaspoon of oil and the remaining beef. Remove the beef and any leftover juices from the pan.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the garlic and onions and saute for about 4 minutes. Add the ale to the pan, scraping down to loosen any bits from the bottom. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of stock and the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper (*NOTE: If you could only find salted beef stock omit the added salt at this point, but add the pepper). Bring to a simmer.
Pour the mixture into a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Add the beef, carrots, potatoes, bay leaves and thyme. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours.
Combine the remaining 1/4 cup stock and flour, stirring with a whisk. Stir the flour mixture into the stew and cook for 13-15 minutes until thickened. Stir in the red wine vinegar and dijon. Discard the bay leaves. Serve with fresh parsley.
**Recipe adapted from Cooking Light