Thursday, November 14, 2013

Recipe: Classic Beef Stew

One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday is to do our grocery shopping for the week, and then throw something in the slow cooker. The smells that fill the house the rest of the day are worth the wait. Recently, "R" and I attempted a Classic Beef Stew. I grew up on my dad's beef stew, and it still remains one of my favorite dishes to request when I'm visiting my family. So, this recipe had a lot to live up to.

Luckily, this version was totally different than my dad's, but was also very good and satisfied my craving. This recipe came from the October 2012 issue of Cuisine at Home magazine.

Class Beef Stew with peas and pearl onions (makes 6 servings- 10 cups; Prep Time = 45 minutes; Cook Time = 3-4 hours)

6 strips thick-sliced bacon

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. Spanish paprika
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks (yields 2 lb. trimmed)
1 lb. small, red skinned potatoes, quartered
2 cups baby carrots
1 1/2 cups sliced celery
2 dried bay leaves

2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. beef base (We used Better Than Bouillion.)

2 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 1/2 cups vegetable juice cocktail (We used V-8 Original.)
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
Chopped fresh parsley

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp.
Drain bacon on a paper-towel lined plate, reserve the drippings.
Combine flour, salt, paprika, thyme, black pepper, and cayenne in a bowl; add beef and toss to coat.
Heat 1 Tbsp. drippings in same skillet over medium heat.
Sear half of the beef until brown (3 minutes per side).
Repeat with 1 Tbsp. drippings and remaining beef.
Transfer to a 4-6 quart slow cooker.
Add any remaining flour mixture to the slow cooker, top with potatoes, carrots, celery, and bay leaves.
Stir tomato paste, garlic, and beef base into the skillet and cook over medium heat (1 minute).
Combine broth, vegetable juice, and Worcestershire and stir into skillet, scraping up bits from the bottom. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until thick (2-3 minutes).
Pour broth mixture over beef in slow cooker.
Cover slow cooker and cook until beef is fork-tender on high setting (3-4 hours) or low setting (6-7 hours).
Discard bay leaves.
Add peas, pearl onions, and vinegar to stew.
Garnish servings with parsley and bacon.
One note--- the recipe doesn't list cutting the baby carrots, but I would suggest it after our experience. The quartered potatoes and whole baby carrots took much longer to cook than stated in the recipe. We had it on high, and it took about 5 hours. We also added mushrooms, because we are always trying to find ways to add more vegetables to any dish.

Enjoy! This is perfect for a fall weather day.