Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Easy, Delicious Crockpot (Slow Cooker) Stew!

Stock image
Whether you call it a Crock Pot, Crockpot or Slow Cooker, this is one kitchen gadget I couldn't live without.  I may not use it frequently, but when I do it's a life saver. From soups, to stews, to pork Carne Asada, to stuffed peppers and even desserts, the uses are endless.  And it's cooking that requires no checking. You just add the ingredients the way the recipes suggests and walk away.

Sundays are dinner and a movie night with my oldest. Anything to lure a son who lives on his own home to spend time with his parents is a good thing.  As we watch a movie almost every week - we embrace a wide range.  Comedy, SciFi, Animation, Mystery, Art, Film Noir, Award nominated, each week we try to mix it up.

Every once and awhile there is a movie that needs to be seen on the big screen because of stunning visuals - IMAX prefered - or the larger theatre sound system.  Yesterday we wanted to see one that definitely fit this criteria - Dr. Strange.  As we were watching the 4:45 show and the movie is around 2 hours, I needed a supper that was ready when we walked in the door.

It's cold and gray outside, so I decide Beef Stew would be perfect. In looking at 3 or 4 recipes, I came up with the list below.  If you're like me and natural chef with a great palette, then exploring a variety of recipes is a great way to open the door on creating your own without too much risk. All this went in the crockpot at 9 a.m. in the morning. How easy is that?

As this is a meal in a bowl, all I added were some crusty split rolls which I buttered, sprinkled with grated Asiago Cheese and then wrapped tightly before we left. When we walked it I slid them under the broiler and let them toast while I filled my large oval individual stew bowls. My favourite for serving full meal soups and stews are large oval ones I bought in a set from Costco - see below. Voila - dinner in minutes.

Enjoy! And don't  be afraid to play a bit with the recipe to make it your own. The options are endless.

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Easy, Delicious Crockpot (Slow Cooker) Stew!
This fills a LARGE 7 Quart Crockpot!

Ingredients - 

1                            Medium to large sweet onion, diced
2                            Stalks Celery, cut once lengthwise and then crosswise
                                         into 1/4" slices
2                            Cloves Garlic, Minced
1                            7 oz/200 g package sliced mushrooms
1                            bay leaf
1 tsp                      Paprika
1/2 tsp                   Salt
1/4 tsp                   Coarse Black Pepper
1 tsp                      Worcestershire Sauce (could sub Soy Sauce or Tamari)
2 lbs.                     Inexpensive lean beef roast cut into 1 inch cubes
                                          (or pre-cut stewing beef)
1/4 C                     Flour
4                            Large Carrots cut once lengthwise and the crosswise
                                          into 1/4" slices
1-1/2 lbs.               New potatoes, small ones left whole, larger ones cut
                                          cross-wise
1                            Can (10.5 oz/284 ml) Condensed Beef Broth
1/2 C                     Red Wine (could sub more beef broth if you prefer)

Directions -

Stock image. I prefer the white bowls. These are
my number one go to for full meal soups and stews.
Prepare all vegetables. Toss Beef cubes with flour until well-coated.  In LARGE crockpot layer ingredients as follows - onion, celery, garlic, then mushroom. Sprinkle with bay leaf, paprika, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Then continue to layer in this order - flour tossed beef cubes, carrots and then potatoes.  Mix the condensed beef broth and red wine. Drizzle over the layers in the Crockpot.

Cook on Low for 10 - 12 hours. GENTLY stir until all ingredients are evenly spaced. As everything will be well-cooked, it's important not to be too aggressive here.  Serve with crusty rolls, broiled cheese topped buns or your favourite quick loaf (mine is Brethren Cheese Quick Bread).

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