Classic Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Cover recipe- Cooking Light, Classic Slow Cooker Beef Stew:  December 2013

Cover recipe- Cooking Light, Classic Slow Cooker Beef Stew:
December 2013

When I was in law school, my favorite kitchen tool was my slow cooker. At the end of a long day, it was wonderful to be able to come back to my apartment to a homemade meal that took minimal effort on my part; like so many people out there who work grueling hours, minimal time and effort was literally all I had to spend on cooking. (Whoever you are, thank you to the inventor of the slow cooker!) But I have to admit, now that I work from home, my slow cooker often sits forgotten in the back of my pantry…mainly because it’s so easy for me to give a quick stir to whatever is slow cooking on the stovetop or in the oven. That is, until one day a couple weeks ago when I had friends coming over for dinner on an evening when I was going to be out all day, and I needed a home-cooked meal that could take care of itself. I was wracking my brain trying to come up with an idea when I saw the cover of December’s Cooking Light magazine.

Classic Slow Cooker Beef Stew looked perfect. Chilly days call for warming comfort food and what better than stew? With its hearty veggies and deep flavor, beef stew is always sure to be a hit. Taking a quick peek at the recipe, I realized that even though this is a fairly basic version of beef stew (without even celery or mushrooms, which are vegetables that I don’t usually leave out), it sounded like it had rich flavor with ale, thyme, Dijon mustard, and red wine vinegar. I knew I wanted to give it a try. Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.

Classic Slow Cooker Beef Stew

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Classic Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 45 min

Cook Time: 7 hours

Ingredients:

2 pounds trimmed boneless chuck roast, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
3 medium yellow onions, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 (12-ounce) bottle nut brown ale
1 1/4 cups unsalted beef stock (such as Swanson), divided
1 1/2 pounds baby Dutch potatoes, halved
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
4 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

Directions:

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle beef evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of beef to pan; cook 6 minutes, turning until well browned on all sides. Remove beef from pan. Repeat procedure with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and remaining beef; remove beef and any juices from pan.

2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onions and garlic; sauté 4 minutes. Add beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup stock, remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer. Carefully pour mixture into a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Add beef, potatoes, carrots, thyme, and bay leaves. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours.

3. Combine remaining 1/4 cup stock and flour, stirring with a whisk. Stir flour mixture into stew; cook 15 minutes or until thickened. Stir in mustard and vinegar. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Sprinkle with parsley.

Tips:

• As per Cooking Light, be careful not to choose a beer that’s super-hoppy because it will taste too bitter.
• Also from Cooking Light, to get 2 pounds of trimmed meat, you’ll probably need to purchase a 2 1/2-pound roast.
• I decreased the black pepper from 1 teaspoon to 3/4 teaspoon, and found that this was still a touch peppery; next time I’ll decrease it to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
• I added 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1 1/4 cups
Calories per serving: 386
Fat per serving: 17.9g
Saturated Fat per serving: 5.9g
Sodium per serving: ,span class="sodium">509g
Fiber per serving: 3.5g
Protein per serving: 25.1g
Cholesterol per serving: 86mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 28.3g

Cooking Light December 2013

The results:

The deep flavor of this rich stew was brightened by the addition of Dijon mustard and red wine vinegar at the end of cooking, resulting in a well-balanced dish. It looks like a pretty basic beef stew recipe, but the flavor is spot-on and truly satisfying on a chilly evening.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

I think it did. A perfect beef stew recipe is the ultimate cold-weather comfort food, plus the fact that this dish cooks itself in the slow cooker is just gravy (sorry, I couldn’t resist the corny pun). As another bonus, leftovers were even better for lunch the next day.

Faith Gorsky is the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind the blog Edible Mosaic , and she is the cookbook author of An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair (Tuttle Publishing; November 2012). She was born, raised, and spent most of her life in Upstate New York, and she currently lives in Kuwait. When it comes to cooking, her favorite thing to do is go into the kitchen hungry, open the fridge, and start creating. She loves to travel, especially to places steeped in rich culture and history. She also enjoys reading (cookbooks mostly), vintage shopping (especially in old markets), watching movies (of all genres), and is enamored with ancient cultures (especially Rome and Egypt).

16 Responses to “Herbed Cheese Pizza”

  1. 1

    VeggieGirl — October 26, 2009 @ 5:21 am

    Atypical and fabulous! :)

  2. 2

    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — October 26, 2009 @ 7:42 am

    I have that copy of Cooking Light, and I have been thinking about making the pizza. Thanks for testing it out for me. Yours looks absolutely gorgeous!

  3. 3

    Barbara Bakes — October 26, 2009 @ 8:33 am

    I could fall in love with light pizza!

  4. 4

    Louise — October 26, 2009 @ 9:40 am

    This pizza recipe would have been just perfect for the pizza party! I’m really liking your new blog Lori. Very cool…

  5. 5

    Aggie — October 26, 2009 @ 12:27 pm

    Mouthwatering…I loved this on the cover when I got my mag. I’m such a sucker for pizza…
    I like the newer layout of CL too, seems like they are packing it with a ton of great recipes! And it’s cleaner and more organized. Great pick for you to review! Am really enjoying your new blog! :)

  6. 6

    Terri Archibald — October 26, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

    I’m very happy with the recent changes made by Cooking Light also. It is one of the magazines that I get very excited to see in the mailbox! Regarding the pizza recipe, I’m very excited to try it. I’m all about the crust. Thanks for checking it out for all of us!

  7. 7

    wasabi prime — October 26, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

    This looks so delicious! Again, great helpful commentary about the recipe and tips for substitutions. I never have everything a recipe calls for and I usually forget to shop for it!

  8. 8

    Phoo-D — October 26, 2009 @ 2:35 pm

    This looks terrific. I’ll have to scout out that Greek cheese- I’ve never heard of it before!

  9. 9

    Katie @ goodLife {eats} — October 26, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

    Yum! That looks really good. I’ve been enjoying the new Cooking Light as well and this cover definitely caught my eye when I received this issue.

  10. 10

    France — October 26, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

    Your photo should be on the cover of a magazine. This pizza looks so good.

  11. 11

    CookiePie — October 26, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

    Love this! Gorgeous photo, and I love that you tried freezing the dough. And I totally agree about the changes to CL – great magazine!

  12. 12

    jo — October 27, 2009 @ 6:57 pm

    Oh wow – I can already smell pizza in the air. This looks absolutely yummy and would love to have a slice.

  13. 13

    NJ — October 28, 2009 @ 11:15 am

    I recently found and subscribed to your blog. I love the concept and am enjoying the posts. Your photo inspires me to try the pizza more than theirs did. Looking forward to more recipes and pictures.

  14. 14

    Sues — October 28, 2009 @ 11:47 am

    Your pizza looks prettier than the one on the cover! I love a good “light” pizza :)

  15. 15

    Jill — October 28, 2009 @ 9:12 pm

    This is such a great concept for a blog. Loved the spider cake and this pizza looks DELICIOUS and even better than the cover. I’m not sure if it would have caught my attention, but after seeing yours and reading an information post, I think I’ll have to try it too. :)

  16. 16

    Bethany — November 6, 2009 @ 3:30 pm

    That looks amazing!!

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