Slow Cooker, Fast Prep – Beef Stew
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.
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.
Got some of this? You’re almost ready!
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.)
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.
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.