How to Make a Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe
Making beef stew doesn’t get any easier than this with no prior cooking or sauteing. Just add everything to the slow cooker and cook. The result is fork-tender meat with hearty and wholesome veggies in a thick gravy.
ABOUT THIS SLOW-COOKER BEEF STEW
This is a perfect dish when you need something with as little prep time as possible. It literally is adding all the ingredients in a slow cooker and set it to cook. I like to leave it on low heat overnight. And yet, you can certainly cook it on high for 4 hours to speed it up.
The list of ingredients looks like a lot, but they are easy to find, and many are simple pantry staples that are probably already in your kitchen.
This recipe has three components.
- Add dry ingredients to the slow cooker.
- Add liquid ingredients to the slow cooker.
Combine the liquid ingredients in a bowl first – we do this to ensure they are all well combined.
- After slow cooking – add the thickener.
We don’t add this at the beginning of the recipe because the cornstarch can settle at the bottom of the slow cooker. This will prevent even heating and possibly ruin the slow cooker.
Useful Tips and Tools
- In the interest of good hygiene, it is a good practice to always use separate chopping boards, one for the veggies, and a separate one for the meat.
- A chef’s knife does a great job of cutting meats, while a utility knife works best for the veggies.
- And a heavy-bottom saute-pan or cast-iron skillet to saute the veggies.
- Slow cooker or Crock-Pots are easily available these days and quite affordable too. They make meal planning so much easier avoiding that last-minute stress of “what’s for dinner?” If possible, choose one that has the option to saute, so you can do everything in one pot, including browning the meat. My only regret is that I can’t brown the meats or saute the onions in the same pot. By the way, the Instant Pot has a slow cooker option too, and I’m pretty excited that I will also be able to use it for slow cooking.
- And, if you don’t have a slow cooker, a good quality Dutch oven does a great job of slow cooking on the stovetop.
- If you plan to cook it on the stovetop but don’t have a Dutch oven use a heavy-bottom skillet that will endure the long slow cooking. You can also use a heat tamer or heat diffuser that you can place under the pan to distribute the heat evenly.
- Also, I like to use my wooden spatula for cooking, so I do not damage the surface of my pans.
- And, if you following a recipe, it’s best to use measuring cups and spoons for accuracy.
INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTES
- Beef – I like to use a good chuck roast or chuck shoulder for my stew. But, you can easily find inexpensive cuts in the supermarket just for stew. Just ask your butcher.
- Carrots – Since we are going to cook this for a long time, it’s best to keep the carrots large. That way, they won’t disappear in the sauce.
- Potatoes – Use baking potatoes as these can endure the long slow cooking and still hold their shape. I like potatoes in stews because they soak up all the extra gravy and become so delicious.
- Herbs – I’m using classic thyme and rosemary, but a pinch of oregano works as well.
- Onions – If possible, use red Spanish onions. They cook down easily and taste sweeter. I like to saute my onions in a little oil because my kids don’t like onions in the sauce. A little saute means the onions are still there but disappear in the sauce.
- Ginger and garlic – A little goes a long way, and they really do make a huge difference. Ginger is very underused in our cooking but does wonderful things to meat.
- Red wine – You can certainly omit the red wine, and yet I think it adds a punch of flavor and color.
- Tomato paste – I highly recommend using less of it, so it adds a subtle flavor and color. Unless you want a tomato-based stew, 1 tbsp is plenty.
- Broth – Chicken, beef, or veggies, whichever you have on hand works just fine. The beef broth will give you a stronger beefy flavor.
- Mustard – Is always a great flavor booster for beef or lamb. You can omit if you don’t care much for it.
How to make a Slow-Cooker Beef Stew with Veggies
- Add carrots, potatoes, beef, onion, garlic, ginger, herbs, and spices into the slow cooker.
- In a bowl or measuring cup – combine broth, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, tomato paste, and mustard.
- Then, pour the liquid ingredients over the slow cooker ingredients.
- Cover and cook on low-heat for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours.
- Combine cornstarch and water in a bowl. Then, add it to the slow cooker.
- Continue to cook on high for another hour.
- Serve over steamed rice, couscous, or cauliflower rice.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How long with this beef stew keep?
This slow-cooked stew will keep in the fridge for 5 to 6 days. It can also be frozen for up to a month.
Don’t I need to saute the beef in oil before adding to the slow cooker?
Can I use other meat instead of beef for this slow cooker beef stew?
Yes, actually, lamb and pork would work just as well instead of beef for this slow cooker recipe. You can try my slow-cooker lamb recipe.
What do you serve with beef stew?
Today, I have served it with steamed rice. But my kids love to enjoy it with mashed potato or some crusty rustic walnut-raisin bread. When I’m in a low-carb mood, I usually serve it with cauliflower rice.
What do you serve along with beef stew?
This can be a complete meal with meat, veggies over steamed rice. And yet, you can also serve more veggies on the side such as garlic sesame asparagus, parmesan asparagus, sesame green beans, lemon rosemary potatoes, roasted dill potatoes.
Can I use other alcohol in this slow-cooker beef?
Perhaps not. I do have a slow-cooked beer-braised beef recipe if you’d like to try another alcohol.
Can I add more red wine to this beef stew?
That might not be the best in this recipe. However, I do have beef in red wine sauce recipe that is absolutely delicious.
Can I serve this slow-cooked beef with polenta?
You can, though I think polenta would do better with a more thicker tomato-based gravy such as my slow-cooked lamb with polenta.
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