Beef stew is a classic comfort food that warms the soul and satisfies the taste buds. This slow cooker beef stew recipe is loaded with tender beef, hearty vegetables, and a flavorful broth, making it the ultimate comfort food. The best part? You can simply toss all the ingredients into your crock pot and let it simmer all day, so you can come home to a fully cooked meal after a busy day!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Meat: When it comes to beef stew, chuck roast is an excellent choice. It has a good amount of marbling, which adds flavor and keeps the meat moist during cooking. Chuck roast also offers a nice balance of lean meat and fat, resulting in a tender and flavorful stew. If chuck roast is not available, you can substitute it with bottom round or brisket. Browning the meat before adding it to the crock pot is highly recommended as it enhances the flavor.
Vegetables: The more vegetables, the better! In this recipe, I’ve added celery, carrots, peas, potatoes, and onions. Feel free to add your favorite vegetables like mushrooms, green beans, parsnips, turnips, or sweet potatoes. The choice is yours!
Wine: For a robust flavor that pairs well with the beef and vegetables, opt for a full-bodied, dry red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. Choose a wine that you would enjoy drinking as it will contribute to the overall taste of the stew. If you prefer to omit wine, you can substitute it with a little more beef broth.
Why is Browning Meat Important?
Browning the meat before adding it to the slow cooker is a crucial step that I highly recommend. Not only does it create a better texture by sealing in the juices and preventing the meat from becoming dry and tough during the cooking process, but it also develops flavor compounds that can’t be achieved through slow cooking alone. By searing the meat, you’ll achieve a richer and more satisfying flavor profile in your stew. If time is limited, you can skip this step, but keep in mind that the stew may lack some depth and complexity of flavor.
Can I Make the Stew Thicker?
Absolutely! If you prefer a thicker stew, cornstarch is a simple and effective thickening agent. Here’s how you can do it:
Ladle out about 1/2 cup of the liquid from the stew at least 15 minutes before serving to allow it to cool down a bit.
Whisk 2 teaspoons of cornstarch into the 1/2 cup of liquid until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps.
Add the cornstarch mixture back to the stew, stirring gently to combine. Avoid over-stirring, as it can break down the meat and vegetables, resulting in a mushy stew.
How to Store Beef Stew
To store your beef stew, follow these simple steps:
Refrigeration: Let the stew cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. When you’re ready to enjoy it, heat it in a pot on the stovetop or use a microwave-safe bowl to warm it up in the microwave.
Freezing: If you want to store your beef stew for a longer period, freezing is an excellent option. Place it in a freezer-safe container or a resealable plastic bag. Remember to label the container or bag with the date and contents. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. When you’re ready to savor the stew, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. Once thawed, you can reheat it on the stove or in the microwave until it reaches the desired temperature.
Now that we’ve covered the important details, let’s dive into the ingredients and step-by-step instructions for this delicious slow cooker beef stew recipe:
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ pounds chuck beef, cut into cubes
- ¼ cup (31.25 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 3 large carrots, sliced into rounds
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 5 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite-sized cubes (about 2 pounds)
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 ½ cups (600 g) beef broth
- ½ cup red wine
Heat the olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot, add the cubed beef to the skillet and sprinkle it with flour. Brown the beef for about 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer the browned beef to your slow cooker.
Add the celery, carrots, peas, potatoes, onion, garlic, bay leaves, dried thyme, parsley, tomato paste, salt, and pepper to the slow cooker with the beef.
Pour in the beef broth and red wine. These liquids will create a flavorful broth for your stew.
Give everything a gentle stir to combine all the ingredients.
Cover the slow cooker with its lid and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 3-3 ½ hours. The cooking time may vary depending on your slow cooker, so check for tenderness. The potatoes and meat should be fork-tender when it’s done.
Once the stew is cooked, remove the bay leaves and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Serve the delicious beef stew hot in bowls, and enjoy the comforting flavors and tender beef with every spoonful.
This slow cooker beef stew is a fantastic option for busy days when you crave a hearty, homemade meal without much effort. The tender beef, flavorful vegetables, and rich broth will warm your heart and make your taste buds sing. Plus, the convenience of the crock pot means you can come home to a delicious aroma and a fully cooked meal. So, give this recipe a try and savor the comfort it brings to your table!