It’s freezing today. Stephen’s weather app says it’s 14 degrees, but feels like 3. Something thick, hearty, and comforting is definitely in order.
Thomas had a playdate today with two of his friends from daycare. I’m always wiped after those (more so than he is), so I didn’t really want something complicated. And quite frankly after the effort from last night’s Dolly Chicken extravaganza, the last thing I wanted was a messy kitchen and labor intensive meal.
You can make this on the stove or in a crock pot. I’ve made it before in an enamel covered cast iron dutch oven, but it was recalled (thanks, Martha Stewart Living) and I haven’t found one to replace it yet. I called my mother and consulted (what, you don’t call your mom when you have a cooking question? Hell, I’ve called my dad’s best friend from college with a cooking question before) and we both agreed that 4-6 hours in the slow cooker on high would be a good substitute for the beautiful navy blue pot I had to return to Macy’s against my will.
I wasn’t initially sure how much liquid I wanted to use because I like my stew thick. But after four hours it was almost too thick, so I added a little beef broth. I’m serving this with corn bread only because I forgot to buy ciabatta bread at the store yesterday.
Note: I used a 6 (or 7?) quart slow cooker for this. If you use a smaller one, reduce your potatoes and carrots and use maybe a 1 1/3 lbs beef.
- 2 lbs stew beef, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 10-15 small red potatoes, quartered
- 8-10 carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce (I ended up using the full can, but 8 oz will work fine if you make this on the stove)
- 1 8 oz package sliced mushrooms (optional; I skipped this today)
- 1 bag frozen pearl onions (NOT WITH CREAM SAUCE)
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic salt or powder
- couple tablespoons flour
- beef broth for thinning
- salt & pepper to taste
In a plastic bag, combine flour, salt and pepper. Add beef and toss to coat. Heat a skillet over medium high and add olive oil to coat the pan. Add the beef when the oil is hot (you will probably have to do this in batches so you don’t crowd the pan) and saute until lightly browned but not cooked all the way through. Remove beef to slow cooker (drain beef first if there’s excess oil). Add more oil to the pan if necessary when doing this in batches.
To the slow cooker, add tomato sauce, paprika, garlic salt, and red wine. Stir to get everything combined. Add carrots and potatoes (and mushrooms if using) and cover. Cook over high heat for four hours, stirring occasionally.
After four hours, reduce heat to low and add onions. If you think stew is too thick, add beef broth. Stir and cover. Let simmer on low an additional hour.
The stew was amazingly thick and hearty. I would make a couple minor alterations, though. It tasted a little bit bland to me, so I would add a little bit more salt, more beef broth (I only added a couple tablespoons; I would probably add at least half a cup, maybe a whole cup next time). I want to play with the seasonings a little bit too; a bay leaf might add some more flavor or maybe some fresh parsley stirred in at the end to brighten it up a little.
That being said, it was the perfect meal for a cold, windy night. Even Thomas – he will not eat new food – tried it and liked it.