Crock-Pot Beef Stew

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There are few dinners that are homier or easier to make than a good beef stew. Whenever possible I buy chuck roast and I cut my own stew meat. It really doesn’t take that long and chuck roast is just the best quality meat for beef stew, instead of the odds and ends of all kinds of beef that are sold as “stew” meat in the grocery. Stew only takes about 30 minutes to assemble and then you put it in a low slow oven or slow cooker and leave it alone. I picked up the knack of using instant tapioca to make a wonderful thick gravy from an Amish cookbook. It requires no messing with making a roux and adding it slowly to avoid lumps. The tapioca goes in the mix at the beginning and when the stew is ready, the gravy is silky, coats a spoon and is delicious. No muss; no fuss. I have always made this in my Dutch oven, but I decided today to use a crock-pot. I usually forget that I have one since it is stored out of sight, but I know how useful they can be. Hopefully, I won’t mess it up!

I make this for Sunday night dinner and then have delicious left-overs for the week. This can also be frozen. The only change you will see when re-heating the stew is that the vibrant green of the peas will fade. No taste is lost. Be sure to serve a good bread or roll to wipe up all of that flavorful gravy!

Crock-Pot Beef Stew

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

4 pounds of chuck roast cut into large chunks (about 3-inch pieces)

1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced OR a 1 pound bag of baby carrots

1 pound of cippolini onions peeled OR if you are feeling lazy a bag of frozen pearl onions

10 ounces of frozen peas

About 12 red baby bliss or small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and left whole unless larger (then cut them in half)

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced thickly or left whole if small (try to use a Cremini or Baby Bella) optional

1 cup red wine like a Cabernet or Zinfandel, but even a Pinot Noir or Cabernet Franc would work. Use either what you have left-over or what you will be drinking with the stew.

1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes with their juice (I like fire roasted)

1-2 cups of beef broth or water

1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped

Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

2 teaspoons dried thyme, crumbled

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

2 bay leaves

5 Tablespoons Minute Tapioca

Directions

  1. I read somewhere that we should be preheating our crock-pots so I preheated mine on high while I prepared my stew ingredients.
  2. I layered in all of my ingredients, except for the frozen peas and parsley and then stirred everything through to distribute them well. I covered the slow-cooker and put it on high for 1 hour.
  3. After 1 hour, I turned the slow-cooker down to “low” but did not touch anything inside the pot. I set the timer for 4 more hours.
  4. After four hours, I stirred in the peas and parsley, adjusted the seasonings and left the slow-cooker on “warm” until I was ready to serve it.

Beef stew

Crockpot Chicken Tagine

I’m often convinced that Lisa and I are communicating on some other cooking channel that we don’t even realize.  I love all the recipes she sends me and just wish I had more patience to cook them all!  I was delighted to find that we both made a Moroccan Chicken with preserved lemons dish last Friday, although mine was the simplified “still feeling under the weather and resorting to a crock pot” version.  Nevertheless, we were in some ways all eating together!

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I happened to have preserved lemons on hand from ages ago when I (thankfully) had the forethought to make them, but I’ve also recently discovered that you can buy them!  As Lisa says, the internet has everything.

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I served my tagine over simple couscous made in leftover chicken stock, and making it took maybe 10-15 minutes max!

Ingredients

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped into large chunks
2 tablespoons flour
2 large onions, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1-2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 inch fresh gingerroot, finely chopped
6 ounces dried apricots
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 (14 ounce) cans chopped tomatoes
2 (14 ounce) cans chickpeas
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 pint chicken stock
1 pinch saffron
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 teaspoons ras el hanout spice mix (or make up spice mix below)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and black pepper
chopped fresh coriander, to serve (Cilantro)
1 bag baby carrots
1 preserved lemon, chopped into small wedges
harissa (optional)

Directions
  1. Heat up olive oil in a frying pan/skillet & saute chopped onions & garlic for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add chicken stock & gradually mix in flour until well mixed & not lumpy. Add honey & tomato paste & mix well.
  3. Add herbs,spices & finely chopped ginger with salt & pepper to taste. Finally add tinned tomatoes & mix well.
  4. Pour the above tomato,onion & spice mix into slow cooker. Add chicken & chickpeas & mix well.
  5. Add dried apricots making sure they are covered by juice. Add the carrots if using and preserved lemons
  6. Give it a gentle but good stir to mix everything together well.Crock Pot or Slow Cooker – Cook on high for about 3 to 4 hours OR automatic with keep warm facility for up to 8 hours.Serve with freshly chopped parsley on couscous.  Serve harissa on the side, so that guests can add according to how spicy they want their dish.

Adapted from Epicurious Easy Moroccan Chicken Tagine.