Monday, November 26, 2012

Classic Beef Stew

I know I have what, thirty different beef stew recipes posted here? It's ridiculous. And each and every one has been pretty delicious. So why bother making yet another beef stew when I have a decent arsenal of stews to draw from? Because I'm ridiculous, that's why.

Weekly menu plans in the Frazzoo house usually go like this:

Me: Anything in particular you'd like to eat this coming week?
Graham: No.
Me: Okay.

On the few occasions he does have something to contribute to the menu plan, I try very hard to incorporate it since it's so rare that he does have an idea about what he'd like to see on the table for the week ahead. (On the other hand, I suppose I should take it as a compliment that he never has any suggestions, right? Since everything that lands on the table is super delicious?) When he asked for stew, I was happy to oblige. We had a short streak of warm November days in the earlier part of this month, and I made this at the very end, right as the warm weather gave way to a cold rain (and then snow, because it's Chicago). It was hearty and filling, a real stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal, and a nice prelude to the turkey-fest that's in our future.

As an aside, I had to include the photo below. It has not been edited in any way--I don't have the time to edit my food photos. I was taking pics before dinner and the steam rising off my bowl framed the stew perfectly. I know bloggers who edit heavily to give their photos this sort of ethereal glow. While it's not my style, I think it's kind of hysterical that fate went ahead and told me that my previous photos were crap, so it tried to help me out a little.

Classic Beef Stew
(Adapted from

4 T. canola oil
2 lbs. stew meat (whatever your typical preference is)
2 onions, sliced
6 oz. tomato paste
1 c. red wine
4 medium potatoes, cubed
3-4 medium carrots, chopped
4 c. beef broth
1 bay leaf
Salt, to taste
2 tsp. dried thyme
10 oz. frozen peas

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Brown the beef in oil, working in batches if necessary. Transfer to slow cooker. When beef is browned, lower heat to medium and cook onion slices until translucent, approximately 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and coat onions. Transfer to slow cooker.

Pull the pan off the heat and pour in the wine. Deglaze, scraping up the bottom of the pan as you go. Pour into slow cooker. Add potatoes, carrots, broth, bay leaf, salt, ant thyme. Give the mixture a large stir, cover, and cook on low for 7.5-8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.

When stew is 30 minutes from completion, pour in the peas, stir the stew, cover, and continue cooking. (Alternately, you can add the peas at the end of the cooking time and heat through for about 30 minutes. This is the method I would use since I'd likely not be home when the timer went off.)

Note: I forgot to add the peas. Don't be like me.

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