Slow Cooker Beef Stew

I hope that everyone is having a safe, happy, and healthy new year!  My husband and I rang in the new year by eating a yummy dinner at The Rock, which is a restaurant and bar serving wood-fired pizza, delicious salads, sandwiches, and amazing, amazing brown sugar mozzarella bread (seriously. amazing).  If you are ever in the Pacific Northwest (or live here already!), you need to go!  I just realized also that there are locations in Oregon, Colorado, Alaska, and Alberta, Canada!  I sound like a commercial, ha.

Then we snuggled on the couch and re-watched The Hunger Games, to prepare us for seeing the second one (more about that in another blog post).  But have I mentioned lately how much I love that series?  And Jennifer Lawrence.  And the books.  And…yeah.
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Ok, onto the stew!  This beef stew recipe comes from The Magical Slow Cooker.  As I recently posted in my comfort food recipe roundup, winter is the best time of year to delight in delicious and soothing food!  Beef stew pretty much tops that list, am I right?
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I did make a few changes.  For example, when I arrived home from work, the stew was so, so thick.  Like…even too thick for stew.  So I added an additional cup of beef broth and let it continue to cook for a bit and that fixed it right up!  Also, I didn’t use a whole bag of carrots, but I used quite a few!  I was worried they’d end up too mushy (I hate mushy cooked carrots), but they weren’t at all, so that was a success.  I also omitted the peas, because my husband doesn’t like them, and the last time I made a soup with peas, he made a cute little pile on the side of his bowl with them.  I was worried that the tomato paste was going to make the stew come out overly tomato-y, but it didn’t at all!  You could certainly taste it, but it was not overpowering in the slightest.  Finally, I added mushrooms toward the end, because my mom brought them over and insisted I include them, as both her and my husband like them.  We kept them whole, so I could easily pick them out.

The only obnoxious thing about this recipe is all of the prep work that needs to be done prior to throwing it all in the crockpot.  It is hard enough as it is for me to wake up in time to get ready for work, let alone prepare dinner! 😉  But the final product was worth it – my mother, husband, and I gobbled this up (with a side of warm french bread), plus leftovers!
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Slow Cooker Beef Stew

serves 4+

Ingredients:
-2lbs Stew Meat (or 2 pounds any lean roast cut into 1 inch or so squares)
-1/2cu flour
-2tsp salt
-1tsp pepper
-1tsp onion powder
-1tsp thyme
-cooking oil
-14oz can beef broth (plus more at the end, if it’s too thick)
-6oz can tomato paste
-1 to 1.5lbs red potatoes quartered or diced (1 inch or so)
-1lb bag baby carrots
-1 white onion diced large
-2cu frozen peas
-other veg if you choose (like mushrooms)

Directions:
-Combine flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, and thyme in a big ziplock bag. Shake, then add the stew meat, and shake to coat the meat (or use a bowl if you don’t have a large bag).
-Brown the meat in the cooking oil on all sides, but it doesn’t need to be cooked through.
-Dump the meat into the slow cooker.
-Put the pan back on the stove and de-glaze the pan with the beef broth, and tomato paste, scrap up any brown bits of meat and flour into the sauce. This will only take a minute or so, then add the sauce to the slow cooker.
-Add the potatoes, carrots and onions to the slow cooker.
-Stir everything together then cover and cook on low for 8 or so hours.
-Add peas (and other vegetables) at the end of cooking time. Put lid back on and cook for 15 more minutes or so, to thaw the peas.

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