Top of the morning to you!
It’s another slow cooker week, as I have been working hard on my tiny contribution in bringing the new Westford Community Gardens to life. It is so wonderful to see folks rallying around the idea of keeping our food sources local and sustainable. So many towns around Westford are already making this happen, and I’m happy to be a part of bringing this idea to Westford as well. What a wonderful way to engage our children! If you’d like to learn more, check it out!
Today in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day I thought I’d try a beef stew. In honor of busy moms and others with limited time, I thought I’d try a slow cooker version with a little help from my friends. This recipe has been roughly adapted from Simply Recipes to work with a slow cooker.
I first tossed the beef kabobs with a bit of whole wheat flour seasoned with salt and pepper before browning.
I browned the meat on all sides in a little bit of olive oil.
I set the meat aside and sautéed my onion and garlic in the same pot. I poured in a bit of red wine and scraped up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. In went the onion, beef, stock, stout, tomato paste, thyme, parsley, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, and a shake of freshly ground pepper.
After this mixture was combined, the carrots and potatoes went in, and the cover went on.
3 hours later, this yumminess came out of the cooker.
If the veggies look like they could have gone for a bit longer, I agree. I left them out for the first hour during the test cook. I realized that the meat (especially the Beef Kabobs, which are on the leaner side) didn’t need as long to cook and so putting them in at the same time as the veggies is the way to go. I’ve tweaked the recipe below to reflect this.
- 1 package Springdell beef stew meat (I used Beef Kabobs)
- 1/2 cup flour (I used Four Star Farms whole wheat)
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more on-hand if needed
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups beef stock or broth
- 1 cup of stout (I used a local stout- Foolproof Russian Imperial)
- 1 cup of red wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- Springdell potatoes, cut into chunks (I used 4 of the medium sized ones from Share box #9, about 4 cups)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots and/or parsnips (3 to 4 carrots or parsnips)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, if available
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Mix about 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper with the whole wheat flour and toss the beef in the flour as shown.
- Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat (or if your slow cooker has a "brown" setting even better!) Brown the meat on all sides, adding more olive oil as needed. Remove the meat and set aside.
- In the same pan, add the onion and garlic and give a quick sauté, about a minute or two. If using a pan, add the wine and gently scrape the browned bits free from the bottom of the pan before carefully pouring the mixture into the slow cooker.
- Into the slow cooker, add the beef, stock, stout, tomato paste, brown sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves.
- Once all is incorporated, add in the potatoes and carrots.
- Slow cook for 3 hours*. Enjoy!
- *Cooking time may vary slightly depending on the cut of meat used. Beef kabobs, for example are very lean and can toughen quickly, so more than 3 hours can be too much. A marbled stew meat is a bit more forgiving with cooking times.
It wasn’t quite puffing as I had hoped, a little too much butter… But I tossed the accidental wafers onto the stew in sort of a dumpling fashion, and they were a hit! The taste is totally there, just gotta work on the consistency a bit. This puff pastry will be worth bringing back to the drawing board!
I also made an Irish Coffee Ice Cream to try for dessert, as the Coffee Ice Cream from the last week was such a hit, and I still have some coffee left to work with. Great stuff.
How are you celebrating Saint Patrick’s day?