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Slow Cooker, Fast Prep – Beef Stew

April 7, 2011

The other morning while walking the dog I got this idea in my head that I could whip together some stew and slap it in the ol’ Crock Pot in 15 minutes or less before I had to leave for work. Crazy? Maybe. Doable? Yes.

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Got one of these? It doesn’t necessarily have to be a groovy circa 1986 model from your husband’s first marriage like this one. Don’t be jealous.

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Got some of this? You’re almost ready!

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How about a pan like this you can get hot fast and get a good sear? Crank up the heat to high and let’s get started!

While the pan is heating (and the meat is thawing a bit in the microwave if necessary), chop some onions, carrots and potatoes. Don’t peel the potatoes. You really don’t have to peel the carrots either but they don’t look as pretty later if you don’t. Dump the veggies in the slow cooker.

When the pan is hot, unceremoniously drop the meat in the pan in one layer, even if it isn’t quite fully thawed and still stuck together. While the meat sears, leave it alone and grab the rest of your ingredients. You’ll need some chicken broth or stock (or veggie or beef would be good too. I’d skip the fish stock but that’s just me.)

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Do you have one of these? You really should. How often do you see a recipe that calls for just a few teaspoons or tablespoons of tomato paste? Often, man. Often. You don’t want to open a whole can for a few spoonfuls. Get this tube. You’ll thank me for it.

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I usually have one of these hanging around too. This one was a mistake. I’m not really a big Cab fan. No offense, Black Box, you know I love you. I just don’t care this one. Or anyone else’s for that matter. BUT! I don’t mind cooking with it.

By now, you should have flipped over that stuck together chunk of meat and seared it on the other side. Scrape it out of the pan if necessary and into the slow cooker. Put the pan back on the stove and pour in a cup or two of broth or stock and a good squirt of the wine. (If pushed I’d say I used 2 cups broth and 1/2 cup of wine.) Bring it to a boil. Scrape any browned bits (known as fond. I am fond of fond.) from the pan with a wooden spoon. Squirt in some tomato paste. (Is this the first recipe you’ve ever seen with the instruction to “squirt” twice in a row?) Stir to combine, then pour the liquid into the slow cooker with the meat & veggies. Mix it all up. Add some salt and pepper. Put on the lid. Remember to plug it in. Set it to low. Go finish getting ready for work. Go to work. Come home. Enjoy dinner.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. April 8, 2011 1:37 am

    Yum! Well done you! Fast, efficient AND delicious :)

    • Jennifer A (Bread and Putter) permalink*
      April 8, 2011 3:58 pm

      Well, thank you kiwi! I had a dream and I made it come true, LOL!!!

  2. April 8, 2011 7:59 am

    Nothing beats the crock pot. Seriously. When I met Bruce, the tony New Yorker he was/is, he sneered at mine. Then I made a beef stew much like this one in it. He tried to sneer as he smelled it cooking. He couldn’t. And now he uses one all the time.

    • Jennifer A (Bread and Putter) permalink*
      April 8, 2011 3:59 pm

      They really are oh-so-handy. I have two and I actually borrowed enough from friends once to throw a whole party buffet with pretty much everything warmed in crock pots! My other favorite trick is keeping your mashed potatoes warm in one on Thanksgiving.

  3. April 8, 2011 8:21 am

    You make it look tres easy…I’m lucky if I can get myself fed in the morning and here you are making stew. I concur that the tube of tomato paste is genius.

    • Jennifer A (Bread and Putter) permalink*
      April 8, 2011 4:00 pm

      Tomato paste in a tube rocks my world. And wasabi in a tube. I need to re-stock!

  4. April 8, 2011 8:27 am

    I love this post for the crock pot comment. Killing me.

    • Jennifer A (Bread and Putter) permalink*
      April 8, 2011 4:00 pm

      Heh. I’m glad someone appreciated that description.

  5. April 8, 2011 9:51 am

    Why do I suck at crock pots? No one should suck at something so easy. I am making a promise to myself that as soon as I’m back on the meat wagon (come onnnn Easter) I’m pulling out the damn thing and making this stew.

    • Jennifer A (Bread and Putter) permalink*
      April 8, 2011 4:01 pm

      You can do it, Ali!! It really is easy. Please tell me how it works out for you if you try this after Easter.

  6. April 9, 2011 9:36 am

    That crockpot is pretty groovy looking, but I am shocked you admit to using something from his first marriage! I love having dinner all made in the crockpot, but I don’t do it often enough. Something about dealing with meat at 6:30 in the morning that is just not groovy at all!

    • Jennifer A (Bread and Putter) permalink*
      April 10, 2011 9:51 am

      Oh please – half my cookware is from his first marriage. Not to mention my clothes, including my underwear – are stored in a dresser that belonged to her aunt. You can get used to anything, it turns out.

  7. Jada permalink
    October 3, 2012 7:56 pm

    You are tooooooo funny! I can’t wait to try to sucka out! Now I don’t have to hear my husband complaining about the crock pot I sooo wanted but never used! :-D

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