Monday, January 23, 2012

Homemade Beef Stew

I am always looking for something easy to cook for dinner that everyone will like and eat. Last night my husband and I decided on, and made, some kick-ass beef stew in the crock pot.

Served with salad as an appetizer, noodles on the side (for the kiddos because they LOVE pasta), and biscuits for dipping, it was easy, delicious and VERY filling.  

I started out with the "Slow Cooker Winter Spiced Beef and Apple Stew" from the McCormick website as a base, and did some improv from there, so you can find an approximate recipe below :)

1 pound lean beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound lean beef stir fry meat (should be pre-cut in strips)
2 tablespoons oil
4 cups Vegetable Stock
1 can (12 ounces) frozen apple juice concentrate, undiluted
2 1/2 teaspoons Thyme 
2  teaspoons Allspice
1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
4-5 white potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
3  medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks (I used 2 Granny Smith and one Red Delicous to add variety)
1 small white onion, peeled and diced
1 bag (about 25) red pearl onions, peeled
3 large Carrots, peeled and sliced
4 Tablespoons of Corn Starch

1. Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat.  Add meat in batches; cook 5 minutes or until browned. Place meat and remaining ingredients EXCEPT Corn Starch in slow cooker; stir to coat well. Cover.

3. Cook 4 hours on HIGH.  After 4 hours, mix cornstarch with a bit of water to make a slurry (don't just throw the corn starch in on its own, it will make everything chunky and won't thicken right). Add the slurry to the cooker and stir well for a few minutes until everything begins to thicken. Reduce cooker to LOW heat, and cook for an additional 2 hours. 

As you can see from the picture up top, the crock pot was FULL. We had plenty for dinner (two servings each, even though that was WAY too much) , leftovers for lunch the next day and a full container to freeze for later.

Now, I will admit, I am a HUGE fan of garlic. I tend to put garlic in, on or around everything, and nearly put a clove in this as well. Once it started to cook though it just smelled SO good as it was, I didn't want to change anything else and I sure am glad I didnt.

As it was, the stew was sweet from the apples and concentrate, and had a very unique flavor from the allspice. I think adding the garlic would have changed it completely, and this was DELICIOUS just as it was. YUM!

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