Slow Cooker Beef Stew
There are very few things in life that are better on a cold stormy day, in the dead of winter, in Southern Ontario than using your crockpot. The inspiration for this dish was classic country flavours with the most delicate beef pieces you can imagine.
Serves 4 to 6
453 g stewing beef
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tbsp butter, divided (I used salted)
227 g cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
½ Cup white wine
796 ml can of crushed tomatoes
2 Large stalks of celery, sliced
1 large onion, sliced into sticks
1 large carrot, sliced
1 Cup sodium-reduced beef stock
1 Cup water
5 or 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Trim any excess fat off of the beef cubes.
Using a clean plastic bag; add the flour and season the flour with salt and pepper (about 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper). Mix well (just tie the bag and shake it) you can tell it’s mixed by looking at the pepper.
When the flour mixture is seasoned add the beef cubes and coat the beef well with the flour; again just hold the bag closed and shake it.
Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat and add half of the extra virgin olive oil and half of the butter.
When the fat is hot (you’ll see it ripple or bubble) add the beef in an even layer, shaking off any excess flour before it goes in the pan. The idea is to brown the beef and get a yummy crust on it but not cook it through. Turn over after about 4 minutes. If the flour is darkening too quickly drop the heat to medium (you may have to do this step in batches); season lightly with salt and pepper.
When the meat is browned remove the beef and add it to the slow cooker (which is still off at this point).
Add the remaining olive oil and butter and when it’s hot add the mushrooms; season with salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the mushrooms are brown and have given off their water, you may need to drop the heat to medium if the flour in the pan starts to burn.
Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, careful not to burn the garlic.
Add the white wine and turn the heat up to high. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release any of the food stuck to the bottom of the pot (deglazing).
Transfer the contents of the pan to the crockpot and then add in the tomatoes, celery, onion, carrot, beef stock, water, thyme sprigs and vinegar.
Mix well and season liberally with salt and pepper (about 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper).
If the mixture appears very thick (this depends on how thick the tomatoes are) then add another cup of water.
Set the temperature on the crockpot to low and let it cook for a minimum of 8 hours, up to 12 hours.
Taste and adjust seasoning before serving and remove the thyme sprigs.
Serve with any potato side you like, I usually just boil potatoes (remember to leave the skin on; fibre!).
- You can use red wine in place of white if that is what you have on hand.
- You can use stock in place of wine.
- You can use a 680 ml jar of passata in place of the crushed tomatoes if that’s what you have on hand.
- If you prefer you can use a steak in place of stewing beef.