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Crockpot Beef Stew
Is there anything more simple or more luscious on a cold winter day, than beef stew? My father used to make stew on a pot-belly stove that he installed in our home in Allen, Tx. He sat that pot on the back of the stove in the winter and kept the stove filled with wood on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It simmered away and was perfect by evening. I loved his stews! He used an iron kettle to cook it in and it really did slow cook..I mean SLOW! And it tasted phenomenal! Sadly, most of us don't have a pot-belly stove, or an iron pot...and we sure don't use wood to cook with! But that doesn't mean we can't get the modern day taste of slow cooked stew...or something close to it! Thank you, Lord, for crock pots!
Every Sunday, we have a church fellowship lunch and sit and chat with each other while the kids play. It's one of the best things about our family-integrated church! One of the things that makes the lunch so successful is the huge array of crock pots filled with delicious food! So, since I do crock pot meals regularly, I plan to include at least one crock pot meal that I really love in my posts.
This recipe is simple and for the most part healthy. I happened to have a roast in the freezer (they were on sale so I stocked up), so I cut it up in pieces to use for stew meat.
I used fresh rosemary for a seasoning this week because my sis, Heather, has a rosemary bush growing in the back yard. I took a bunch home, removed the rosemary from the stems and then froze it all in a gallon bag. It tasted great in the stew!
You don't have to, of course, but I always toss my stew meat with flour, salt and pepper, and then sear the pieces in oil (olive, canola, etc) before adding them to the crock pot. I always add the meat first, since most crock pot cookbooks suggest that.
Then I add the carrots, potatoes, and bay leaf, plus a can of diced tomatoes and can of cream of mushroom or other cream soup to the pot. I stir it all up and close the lid. Wow! Delicious! I love taking this to friends who need a meal because of a crisis (something we do a lot at Grace Community Church).
I spent the day painting with some friends who had just moved to a new home which needed a lot of TLC! I wanted to bring them a meal too and needed to be sure my family of five had something to eat when we got home from painting too, so this is the recipe I made for both of us. They told me it was great and when I got home and we ate ours, I had to agree!
You can change the add-ins to 1/2 cup beef broth, onion soup mix. red wine, and a teaspoon of rosemary or thyme. I add at least a teaspoon of salt and some browning juice (enough to turn the stew brown). This recipe cooks eight hours on low or 4-5 hours on high. Either way, it's great! If the broth seems to thin, stir in a half cup of flour into two cups of water with a whisk, and pour it into the crock pot while it's still bubbly. It will thicken instantly.
PS. And don't forget to pull out a big bath towel and lay out the dishes you used for cooking to dry after you wash them all. You sure don't want to come home to a sink full of messy dishes! Good old fashioned beef stew...Yummy!