It’s literally 5 degrees outside today here in Massachusetts. FIVE. That doesn’t even factor in the wind chill. I knew it was going to be, in the words of my son, chilly out today, but I had no idea it was going to be this cold. Which makes a nice, comforting bowl of beef stew all that much more appealing, don’t you think?
We don’t eat a lot of red meat in this house. Not because we don’t love it (because we do. Is there anything better than a grilled steak, fresh salad, cold beer, and baked potatoes? In my book, only chocolate and spaghetti & meatballs is better), but because we’re watching our intake for health and weight reasons. We eat a lot of chicken, a fair amount of fish, lots of ground turkey, and lots of veggies. But we probably only have red meat twice a month. In the winter time, it usually takes the form of pot roast or stew.
My parents gave me a subscription to Everyday Food magazine for Christmas last year and again this year. If you can only afford one food magazine, my recommendation is to abandon Cooking Light and go for this one. The recipes are much more accessible, less pretentious, and will actually contain ingredients you probably already have in your fridge or pantry. The beef stew I’m making today is from the January/February 2012 issue.
Bonus: this is a crock pot recipe. Throw it in and go. Or, because it’s five degrees outside (FIVE), throw it in and stay in your house all day.
Beef and Tomato Stew
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced small
- 3 medium carrots, sliced into 1/4 in. disks (I used 4 because I always bulk up veggies)
- 3 celery stalks, cut into 1/4 in. pieces (I used 5 because my celery was pathetically tiny)
- 2 lbs beef chuck, fat trimmed, cut into 1 in. pieces
- 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes (I use no salt added)
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- coarse salt and ground pepper
- 4 cups cooked brown rice
- 6 tbsp nonfat plain greek yogurt (I’m substituting full fat sour cream because Thomas is really the only one who likes greek yogurt in this house)
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
I also used 1/4 cup red wine, which this recipe did not call for, but I felt like we needed that.
In a large skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until veggies are soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer veggies to a 5-6 quart slow cooker. Add beef, broth, garlic, tomatoes (and red wine if you’re like me and can’t fathom beef stew without red wine), 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.
Cover and cook on high, 6 hours, stirring occasionally.
As I hit about 5.5 hours, I noticed the stew looked more soup like than stew. I pulled out a small can of tomato paste and stirred the entire contents into the crock pot. It thickened up immediately. It may now be more tomato-y than it would have been originally, but with it being so ridiculously cold out I wanted something thick and stick-to-the-ribs for dinner.
To serve, divide brown rice and stew among six bowls and top with yogurt (or sour cream) and parsley.
To store, refrigerate stew in airtight container up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.
It was delicious; thick, hearty, tomato-y. The meat was very tender and it was the perfect thing to have on a freezing cold evening. Definitely a repeat.