It’s just been a week since I got my first slow cooker. Since I had not used one before, I had to thoroughly do my research to find what the best stew to go for.
It’s getting very cold and when it comes to winter comfort food, the traditional beef stew casserole is the one. A rich, tasty and incredibly satisfying meal.
Slow cooker cost far less to run than an oven and transform cuts of meat into melt-in-the-mouth.
Time: 10 to 12 hours on slow heat
– 1.5 kg of stewing beef( cut into 5cm cubes)
– ½ cup all-purpose flour
– vegetable oil
– 5 cloves garlic (minced)
– 1 large onion (chopped)
– 8 shallots onion peeled and whole
– 1 to 2 table spoon tomato paste
– 4 to 5 cups of water
– 3 beef stock cubes
– 4 potatoes red skin cut into one inches ( with skin)
– 2 parsnips peeled and halved
– 2 large carrots chunkily cut into 2cm or 12 baby carrots
– 150g of peas
– 3 bay leaf
– 1 table spoon dried or fresh rosemary
– 1 table spoon dried or fresh thyme
– 3 table spoon of Worcestershire sauce
– ground black pepper
– Fresh parsley ( chopped to sprinkle at the end)
– French white boule bread
Optional if needed example celery or other vegetable
1) Coat the beef with flower in a deep Bowl and dust excess flower.
2) In an appropriately sized pot, heat oil over high heat. When hot, brown the beef in 2 to 3 batches for 5 to 6 min per batch until dark crust all over,
remove to a bowl and repeat.
Note: flavour comes from a good sear. Scraping up those caramelized brown bits from the bottom of your pot, is going to give your stew a deep, rich flavour. It is important to make sure to cook your beef chunks in batches, giving each piece enough room to get really browned. Otherwise they will steam, resulting in grey lumps due to the heat temperature dropping from excess meat.
3) Add oil in the same pot over medium heat add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook stirring for 6 min until the onion has softened.
4) Add the water to the pot, the water will loosen all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. The bits left behind will thicken and add deeper flavour. Add the tomato paste, spices, bay leaf, stock cubs and simmer for 5 min. Then add your beef chunks and its juices allowing it to simmer another 5 to 10 min.
In your slow cooker stoneware bowl, put the potato at the bottom first followed by the carrots, parsnips and shallots onions.
Now add the beef and stew mixture on top. The liquid should just cover the meat and vegetables. Do not over fill, if water needed add boiling water.
Tips and advice
Slow cookers are designed to do their own thing so you don’t need to keep checking the contents. Every time you take the lid off it will release some of the heat. So if you keep doing that you have to increase the cooking time. Leave it alone and do other stuff.
If the potato still hard and crunchy. It is likely the type of potatoes or they are not new or from the acidic ingredient in the stew. Tomatoes are the most frequent culprit, when cooked with potato.
Potatoes cooks five times as slowly as everything else in the slow cooker. Put them at the bottom or else you could precook them in the microwave first to start them off.
According to some sources potatoes must reach an internal temperature of 210 f, before them soften very close to boiling. The other ingredients may be ready at a lower temperature for example well done beef has internal temperature of 170 f.
The starch from the potatoes will thicken the stew. For more ticker stew. Mix cornflower with little of cold water and stir in the stew. Add the peas at the end, Allow to simmer for 5 min on high heat.
Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley to give it the final touches. Serve with mash, bread or rice. I used a bread boule.
Slice a few inches from the top of the boule bread and pull out the soft inner part crumb, leaving a one inch thick crust.
Gently add the beef stew, serve in a bowl plate to avoid mess everywhere when eating and enjoy.
Beef stew casserole
If you don’t have a slow cooker you can still do it in the oven. Heat oven to 160 c /300 fan/gas 3.
Do method part one first. Then in a casserole or deep oven dish add the method part two. Cook for 3 to 4 hours. Cover with foil paper if you using an oven dish to preserve the heat.
Note: the stew can be made in two stages method part one done first day. Wait till it’s cooled and put in the fridge. Heat up the next day and add method part two.
The beef stew casserole will warm you up on the coldest day. This hearty meal is full of meat and vegetables for a nutritious family meal. Hope you enjoyed my recipe. Would like to hear your point of views and experiences.