Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hearty Beef Stew

The only good thing about winter is the soup and stew! I am so ready for spring! I made this stew yesterday and it was super good. Hearty and filling all the way. It may require a few extra steps, but they are well worth the time.
Hearty Beef Stew
mel's kitchen cafe

5 lb boneless chuck roast, cut into 1 inch pieces (or you can cheat like I did and buy stew meat)
salt and pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 lb red potatoes, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp minute tapioca
2 cups frozen peas

After the meat has been cut into chunks, pat it dry with a paper towel and season all the pieces with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat until the oil is rippling and hot. Cook half the beef until it is well browned on each side, about 4 minutes. No need to cook it all the way through-just get some good color all around. Toss the meat in a greased slow cooker and follow the same process with the rest of the meat (you may need another tbsp of oil in the pan if it's looking too dry). Remove the meat to the slow cooker, trying to keep as much oil in the pan as possible.

Return the skillet to medium heat and add the onions and 1/4 tsp of salt and cook until onions are translucent and golden, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the broth, soy sauce, 1/2 tsp thyme and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil and transfer it to the slow cooker, pouring it over the meat.

In a large bowl, toss the carrots, potatoes, 1 tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. On the counter, lay out a large piece of foil (use 2 sheets of regular foil if you don't have heavy-duty). Place the tossed veggies on one side of the foil. Fold foil over the vegetables and crimp the edges really well to form a little foil packet that will fit in the top of your slow cooker. Stir the tapioca into the slow cooker. Place foil packet on top of the stew, cover with the lid and cook on high for 6-7 hours or low for 10-11 hours.

When the stew is finished cooking, carefully remove the foil packet from the top of the stew. Discard the bay leaves from the stew. Carefully open the foil packet (be careful of steam that may escape when you open it). Return the veggies and any juices to slow cooker and gently mix them into the stew. Stir in the frozen peas and let them rest in the stew for 5-10 minutes, or until they are heated through. Serve and enjoy!

Serves 6-8

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