Well in Florida the weather is still balmy and warm, but the odd breeze gives me hope that Fall will be falling on us in the coming weeks (okay maybe months).
Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of crockpot recipes on Pinterest and I figured it was time for me to invest in one of my own. I had one awhile ago but it was broken during a move and I never replaced it. I saw this really cute damask pattern crockpot at Target for only $25 so I picked it up along with some beef, carrots, onions, potatoes, celery and mushrooms.
Here’s a super easy recipe for a hearty fall stew.
What you need:
- 1 lb stew beef cubed
- 4-5 small/medium potatoes (or 3 large ones), cut into medium cubes
- Half of a red onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cups of baby carrots, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1-2 cups chopped celery
- 1-2 cups whole baby mushrooms
- 2-3 teaspoons of thyme
- 2-3 teaspoons of tarragon
- 3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp of crushed garlic
- 1 beer, ale or dark beers are best
Here’s what you do:
Preheat the crockpot, turn it on high. Mine takes a good half hour to heat up, so you may want to start this before you even chop the veggies.
Chop all your veggies. No need for precision here. This is a rustic stew, so make them as large or as small as you want. I try to make all the pieces uniform in size, about 2/3 of an inch.
Next, toss all the veggies plus the whole mushrooms (you can cut them too if you want but I like them whole) and the beef into a large bowl. Add the herbs, salt & pepper, and garlic and toss so everything gets coated. Then pour everything into the crockpot. (If you have a larger crockpot you could do this inside the pot but mine isn’t large enough to toss everything, so I find it easier to do this step in a large bowl.)
If you like my thyme spice bottle, here’s how I made my spice bottle collection.
Pour one entire beer over everything. I used Shocktop Pumpkin Wheat because that’s what was in my fridge, but normally I’ll use a darker beer like guinness or Newcastle. You can use whatever you want. I recommend a more deeply flavoured beer to compliment the beef, something like Corona or Budlight wouldn’t really give you the nice round flavour that you’re looking for. Any kind of autumn ale would go nicely in this stew. Fill the empty bottle to the top with water and pour that into the pot too.
Sometimes the beer can give a slightly bitter taste to the stew. If you don’t prefer that flavour you can add about 2 Tbsp of sugar and stir it in. This will cut the bitterness and I promise it won’t make the stew sweet. Put the lid on, and forget about it for the next 6-7 hours.
I like a nice thick stew. If you do too, you can make what is called a slurry to thicken it up. When you’ve got about an hour left, ladle out about a cup of the beef stock from the pot into a small bowl. Add 2-3 Tbsp of flour to your hot stock and whisk until it is completely incorporated and there are no lumps of flour. It may help to sprinkle the flour in a little at a time to make sure you don’t get any lumps. Pour the slurry back into the pot and give it a good stir.
Let the stew cook for about another hour to cook out the flour, and then you are ready to serve! This stew is delicious with some nice buttery biscuits. Enjoy!
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