Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Perfect for a Cold Fall Day

You know those really rainy and cold days in Seattle that just make you want to stay at home and have some soup by the fire? Well, recently, my husband and I had one of those days. It was cold. It was gloomy. And it was raining. To top it all off, we had to haul two truckloads of firewood that we had just purchased. Now, I don't normally participate in such... "manly" endeavors, but alas, there was no one else to help the dear hubby in this one. So, in between loads of firewood, I threw this together in the crock pot so we'd have something tasty for dinner when we finished up.

Beef Stew (or, Soup, if you prefer):

-1 lb stew beef, cut into bite sized portions
-3 to 4 medium white or red potatoes, chopped
-1 whole onion, chopped
-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
-3 to 4 stalks of celery, chopped
-3 handfuls of baby carrots (you can chop them if you like, but they're good whole, too)
-3 cans of beef broth
-salt and pepper

Instructions: Place the potatoes, onion, garlic, celery and baby carrots in the crock pot along with the broth. (I turned my crock pot to cook at the 4-hour rate). Let these stew for about an hour. While those are going, salt and pepper the stew beef (you can pan-sear these in a little butter to lock in the flavor). After the veggies have cooked for about an hour and the broth is nice and hot, add the stew beef. Cover and let stew for another 3 1/2 to 4 hours, being careful not to mess with it too much, or you'll extend the cooking time. When the potatoes are tender, it should be done. If the broth isn't thick enough for your liking, you can add a spoonful or two of flour and that should thicken it up a bit.

I love this recipe, because 1) It's so simple, and 2) There's always tons of leftovers to take for lunch the next few days. It's hearty, it's hot, and so tasty. I love to make a nice loaf of homemade bread to go with it, too. If you asked my husband, he'd probably tell you I make this too much (almost twice a month), but I love it, so he's just going to have to deal with it. :-)

This was actually one of the first recipes I tried when we first got married and received the crock pot as one of our wedding gifts. I was trying to replicate my mom's beef stew (that'll never happen), but I think I got pretty close. There's a lot of room for variation, I've heard people like to add stewed tomatoes, or capers, or even leeks and mushrooms (gag, I hate mushrooms). So, the next chance you get, play around with the recipe and let me know what you come up with. I'm always interested in new stuff.



Jennifer said...

I love adding the leafy part of the celery to the stew because it gives it a very vibrant flavor and a very wonderful aroma to the house. I definitely recommend trying it with that and a dash of Worchestshire sauce! :)

Astra Libris said...

Mmm, crock-pots are the greatest, aren't they?

Deep deep dirty South Southern girl that I am, I always put cajun seasoning in my crock-pot stews...

I'm a new blogger, by the way - hi!