Okay, okay. This post is about plain old beef stew. But Boef Stiu looks fancier. I’m on a comfort food kick lately, what do you want from me? Jeez.
“But beef stew?” I can hear you whining, “Beef stew is fattening and boring.” Yes, it is. Usually. But if you leave out some of the things that make it so, you are left with a delightful little meal for a cold night. I serve it over egg noodles, but you could eat it in a bowl like soup, or with bread, or if you’re really hot stuff, in a bread bowl.
The entire recipe is fully customizable – just use what you have on hand. If you don’t like carrots, leave them out. If you love turnips, throw them in. And, since it’s made in a crockpot, you get to smell it cooking all day, and you don’t have to tend to it.
You can also use whatever beef you want – I used leftover London Broil I had in the freezer (thrifty, I am!), and the meat came out a bit dry. Generally, you want a fattier cut, because it will stay jucier, but that also adds calories. You can’t have everything.
*This recipe fed two until they burst, but if you eat like normal people, it could potentially feed four.
8 oz. beef (any kind, the fattier the better)
6 petite red potatoes, peeled, quartered
1 cup roughly chopped sweet onion (Vidalias are my favorite)
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
4 cups beef broth (low sodium, of course)
sea salt, black pepper
Okay – this is so easy, if you blink you’ll miss it. Ready? Go.
If you are starting with raw beef, brown it in vegetable oil over medium high heat. Don’t cook it all the way through, just sear the outside to seal in the juices. Like a rare steak. Now set it aside.
I’m assuming you’ve done your chopping of vegetables already (ahem), so I won’t cover it here.
So, drag out your crockpot, and start layering. Layering? Yes. Because you don’t necessarily want some things in direct contact with the heated surface, and some things turn out better that way. The layers go this way: (from the bottom up)
2. onions and garlic
4. celery and carrots
Basically, your root vegetables go under the meat, giving it a nice cozy bed. Then the lighter veggies go on top, so their juices drip on down and mingle.
Now, pour about a cup of the beef broth into a small bowl, and add your spices. Whisk it all together, and dump it on top of the whole pile. The pieces of dried herb will stick to whatever they touch, and that makes it good.
Next, gently (gently!) pour the rest of the broth into the crockpot – pour it down the side so it doesn’t wash off all the herby goodness.
Okay! Lock and load. Actually, lock down the lid of the crockpot, turn it on high, and leave it alone for about 4-6 hours, depending on the thickness of your meat. Avoid the temptation to open up and stir – you’ll lose heat that way, and it will take awhile to build back up, lengthening the total cooking time.
Around the 4 hour mark, remove the lid and stir. If the potatoes are not soft and the meat still feels a bit hard, close it back up and be patient. When it’s done, the meat will break apart into large chunks as you stir. So tender!
As I said, I served it on top of wide egg noodles because that’s how my moom did it. If your mom served it over mashed potatoes, go right ahead. Or don’t serve it over anything but the bottom of a bowl. I will be delish either way. Promise.
If you skip the noodles and just eat it in a bowl like soup, you’ll save a couple of hundred calories. Really. Me and pasta = love/hate.
Okay loves, happy cooking. I’m trying a new recipe for tomorrow – I hope it turns out right, or I won’t have dinner tonight! The suspense must be killing you – come back tomorrow and see!