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Stew...

I love cooking and experimenting with different stuff on hand. I made a yummy beef stew yesterday in the crock pot. I discovered that I need to start keeping wine on hand. It was an almost perfect stew, but I think red wine would have made it perfect.

-1 can cream of mushroom soup (which I would have completely skipped if I had any fresh mushrooms, but I didn't)
-1 cup beef broth (Better than Bullion is the shiznit, since I do not have the patience to make broth)
-7-8 baby carrots chopped up (or 2 regular carrots)
-2 stalks celery chopped
-2 lbs stew meat
-1 lg onion
-2 cloves of garlic
-4 potatoes (I used red skinned since they hold up better to the crock pot)
-1/2 lb of fresh green beans chopped into 1" pieces
-1/2 cup frozen corn (next year there will be fresh corn)
-1/2 cup frozen peas (maybe there will be peas next year)

Set crock to low. Add cream of mushroom soup and beef broth.
Set up a frying pan with a little olive oil and some butter (the oil keeps the butter from burning). Slice the onions thinly and mush your garlic however you prefer to do it. Salt and pepper generously. Toss in the pan. Cook until translucent and then add the meat. Cook the meat til brown and the onions should be carmelized.
Toss this stuff into the crock pot. Then cut up your carrots, green beans, celery, and potatoes. Also toss into the crock pot. Add spices you love (I used tarragon, dalmation sage, rosemary, parsley, thyme). Give a good stir. Put the lid on and leave it for 6-7 hours. At the last half hour add the corn and frozen peas. If at this time it isn't a proper gravy consistency, add a mix of 1/2 cup water with 1 tbsp. cornstarch. Turn to high and let it go for another 30 mins.

I also discovered that oiling the inside of the crock keeps that nasty ring from forming.

I would put the wine in instead of the beef broth or mushroom soup (if I had mushrooms). But not instead of both. I bet it would also be awesome with a vegetarian twist with chunks of portabello mushroom instead of the beef and a veggie stock (I love veggie stock, but have only just found BtB veggie at Alberson's). I would toss those in later in the cooking cycle, though. Mushrooms can get a little gross if overcooked. I may have to try that.

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