Classic Beef Stew in a Crock Pot
I bought myself a new crock pot last week. I have two others, but they are very big and mostly I'm cooking for two these days. And frankly, the pots that I have are very old and just plum ugly. I don't know how old they are, it seems I've had them forever. But one is harvest gold and the other is avocado. So yeah, that's old. Oh, and they share a lid between them.
Kohl's was having a sale, I had a coupon for 30% off, and pretty much they paid ME to walk this baby out the door. It's black and chrome, very sexy, and it holds 4 quarts. Just right. I'm a happy cook.
So I decided to honor the event with an inaugural dish, this classic beef stew.
Now, this isn't your "dump it all in the cooker and it's done" kind of recipe. There's a little work at the beginning that makes all the difference in taste. You'll end up with a rich, complex, symphony rather than cafeteria musack. hehe.
About the ingredients. As always, start with the best quality and freshest foods you can muster. For the beef, I had purchased some Costco prime sirloin a while back, and cut a couple of steaks into cubes and stored them in the freezer. The beef stock is from a box, not a can (no tinny taste). The carrots, celery and onion are organic. The potatoes are Honey Gold baby potatoes. The yellow potatoes really have a nice texture in stews and soups, they don't fall apart and have a nice bite. The paprika is fine, warm, and Hungarian. It's really all about the quality. Garbage in, garbage out as they say.
Here's the list of ingredients:
- about 1.5 lbs sirloin, cut into 1" cubes
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 TBS good quality paprika
- 3 TBS olive oil
- 2 TBS cooking sherry
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 4 large, 6 small carrots, peeled and sliced 1 "
- 2 stalks celery, including tops, 1" slices
- 12 small gold potatoes quartered, or 4 medium size, cut into 1" bites
- 6-8 mushrooms, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 32oz box of beef stock
- 1 bay leaf
Prepare your vegetables and have them ready to go before you begin.
In a large zip lock plastic bag, add the flour, salt, pepper and paprika. Shake to mix. Add the cubed beef in the bag and shake to coat well. Heat a large heavy pan over high heat, add the olive oil. It will get hot immediately. Add the floured meat and let this brown. Don't stir until one side is nicely browned and aromatic. Then turn and stir to brown each side. Remove from the pan and place in the crock pot.
Add the vegetables to the pan and brown a bit, stirring for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the cooking sherry and stir and scrape to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Let this cook down for a few minutes while stirring. The alcohol will burn off and there will be a thick glaze on the vegetable mixture. Add this to the crock pot. note: I pour a little beef stock in the pan to further remove any tatsy bits. The browned, sherried, bits of flavor are golden!
Add the veggies to the crock pot on top of the beef and pour in enough beef stock to cover the stew. I used about 3 cups. Add a bay leaf.
Cook on high for 6 hours.
That's it! It's best if you leave the house for the day. The smell will drive you crazy with desire. I suppose it could serve 4, but my husband and I devoured the whole thing. Well, Ziggy helped just a tad. A little broth over his kibbles made him one happy pup.