It’s cold. I don’t know about where you are, but I am experiencing the coldest winter of my life. I lived in Florida for 24 years, but that’s beside the point.
This winter has been exceptionally cold, and it probably is where you are too.
And in an exceptionally cold winter, you need many hot dishes. Chilis, soups, and this beef stew: So comforting that you’ll go back for a second bowl just to feel warm inside. With beef so tender you can’t stab it with a fork; you have to scoop. Carrots that melt in your mouth (how I like them best, thankyouverymuch). Potatoes with creamy flesh and toothsome skin.
Are you drooling yet? The best part: it only takes 20 minutes to prep. The crock-pot does the cooking while you scrape ice off your car, miss your train and shiver on the platform for 20 minutes, almost eat it on the sidewalk, lose feeling in your toes, work all day, and then repeat it all in reverse. And then you finally get home, you take a deep breath, and feel the thawing begin. At least as long as your bowl is full.
Hearty Beef StewYou can brown the meat and saute some onions if you have time. Or if your meat was frozen like mine, you can skip this step and I promise it will still be delicious. I prepped mine the night before in the crock and popped it in the fridge over night. In the morning I added the beer and fired it up (and there’s nothing like the irony of crackin’ open a beer at 6:15 in the morning).
- 1 lb carrots, cut into 2″ pieces (ish)
- 1.5 lb potatoes, cut into 2″ cubes (or thereabouts)
- 1 large onion, sliced into half moons (sauteed if you like/have time)
- 8 oz. package mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1-1.5 lb stew beef (browned if you like)
- 1 cup diced canned tomatoes with juice
- a sprinkle of dried herbs (rosemary, tarragon, savory, thyme, oregano — whatever strikes your fancy)
- salt and pepper
- 1 bottle beer (or 1.5 cups stock)
- 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 1 tbsp chilled butter
- Layer all ingredients except beer, flour and butter in the crock-pot. You can refrigerate overnight at this point.
- When ready to cook, add beer or stock. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4, until veggies are soft and meat is falling-apart tender.
- Before serving, use a fork to blend together butter and flour until it takes on a consistency like cookie dough (I think this is actually easier on a cutting board than in a bowl). Stir well into the hot stew to thicken the sauce. Serve with crusty bread to soak up every last drop of that sauce!