Not Martha

how the stew turned out

The stew was good, not great, but definitely comfort food that was easy to prepare. I threw the small potatoes about two hours before serving, an hour before I threw in chopped carrots and celery and turned it to high. I think the meat and onions could have benefited from another hour or two of slow cooking, meaning I could have started it at 8 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. The onions did that thing where the layers pop out when you push on it, so worth not just chopping them up. And the no-knead bread went perfectly with it. I think the crock pot thing is going to become a habit.

· comments [17] · 11-15-2007 · categories:food ·

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lara // Nov 15, 2007 at 5:28 am

    It looks yummy. I was making braised chicken thighs in an anise scented sauce last night, and thought about your stew. I’ve always browned my stew meat, and the recipe i was using (adapting it from a short ribs recipe) said that you brown the meat to tenderize the tough cuts of meat that you use in a braise/stew and to seal in the flavor. It seems like you could briefly brown the meat in the crock pot, just on the higher temp setting. The flour acts to thicken your sauce later, too.

  • 2 Charlie // Nov 15, 2007 at 6:02 am

    See if you can find Mike Roy’s little crock pot book as he has some great tips for making very elegant food from the pot. Also having the meat at room temp can greatly influence the cooking time. I love the crock.. keep it up..

  • 3 Meaghan // Nov 15, 2007 at 6:03 am

    I love your blog and read it religiously. :) Here’s my Mom’s favorite stew recipe:

    _Oven Beef Stew_

    2.5 lbs sirloin or stew beef
    28 oz. chopped tomatoes
    1 c. chopped celery (chunks)
    4 carrots (chunks)
    4 potatoes (chunks)
    3 onions chopped
    ½ c. red wine
    3-4 tbls. tapioca
    2 beef bouillon cubes
    1 tbls. salt
    1 tbls. sugar
    Ground pepper to taste
    1/8 tsp. each thyme, rosemary, marjoram

    Place all ingredients in a large baking dish (you can also use a crock pot, instead). Stir. Stir again after 2 hours.

    Bake 5 hours covered @ 250 degrees.

  • 4 Meaghan // Nov 15, 2007 at 6:05 am

    Ah, sorry. That’s 1/2 cup of red wine. :)

  • 5 Kathleen // Nov 15, 2007 at 6:11 am

    Here’s my SUPER EASY crock-pot stew recipe, plus a few easy tips to jazz it up and make it taste better than a restaurant.

    Grocery List:
    – beef for stew (I buy from Costco and freeze in 8-oz portions)
    – baby carrots (2 cups)
    – celery (2 stalks)
    – medium-large onion
    – minced garlic in the jar (produce section)
    – soy sauce
    – worcestershire sauce
    – Better Than Bouillon, beef flavor
    – French fried onions
    – Potato Buds (mashed potato flakes- don’t judge)
    – shredded colby or cheddar cheese

    For Two Hungry People:
    Throw into the crock pot
    – 8 oz cubed “beef for stew”
    – two big handfuls baby carrots
    – one medium onion, quartered, sliced, or diced, whatever you feel like
    – two stalks celery, rough-chopped to match the baby-carrot-size

    For the sauce, add
    – soy sauce, three times around the pot
    – worcestershire sauce, 10 good shakes
    – about 1 t minced garlic from the jar, if you have it, or a shake of powdered garlic
    – 1 t Better Than Bouillon, beef flavor
    – water to just cover everything

    (It takes longer to write this out than it does to throw this stuff together.)

    Let it cook for 8-10 hours, whatever you have. The carrots will be very soft, so if you don’t like them like that, wait to put them in til later, like Megan did.

    NOW– to jazz it up and make it A-Ma-Zing, do the following:
    1.) Make two or so servings mashed potatoes from flakes. I use potato buds- don’t tell. I put about 1.5 c buds into a 4 c glass measuring cup, then throw in boiling water and stir until it’s the consistency I like. Sprinkle in a touch of garlic salt and let sit, covered with a hot pad, til the rest is ready.
    2.) Microwave a cup of French Fried Onions for one minute to crisp them up.
    3.) Get out the shredded colby or cheddar cheese.
    4.) Layer on each plate or bowl as so:
    – one hearty blob mashed potatoes
    – sprinkle with shredded cheese, about 1/4 cup
    – one hearty blob of stew meat and veggies
    – a spoonful of gravy from pot (thickened if you had the time, but it’s fine runny)
    – a generous sprinkling of french fried onions.

    I could come up with all sorts of PG13-rated titles for this (Sure-To-Get-Lucky Stew, etc.), but I’ll just call it Brad’s Favorite Stew. His eyes roll back in his head with delight whenever I make this. And it’s so easy!

  • 6 Jenny // Nov 15, 2007 at 6:53 am

    I usually lurk but after reading about your crockpot adventures, I feel compelled to come forward.

    I am an AVID crockpotter. I lead a busy life (who doesn’t) and it is priceless to be able to come home to a hearty meal. You should totally check out some crockpot cookbooks from the library or better yet pick up some of the little cookbooks at the grocery store. You know those little cookbooks that feature ‘Lipton soup secrets’ or something? They usually feature a few awesome recipes for the crock.

  • 7 Kate // Nov 15, 2007 at 6:59 am

    I want to try making crockpot stew without browning the beef, since that’s the part that makes it a pain… But I have to say, I think the flavor added by the browning really must make a difference. I made stew without dredging the meat before browning once (my mother-in-law has celiac) and there was a huge reduction in flavor and texture of the broth.

    Anyway, my favorite crockpot stew has the browned cubes of beef, some onions, carrots and celery, a sprig of thyme and a can of Guinness. It’s awesome.

  • 8 Ann // Nov 15, 2007 at 8:11 am

    No-Knead bread can be EVEN EASIER!! I mix it up, cover with plastic wrap and leave it for 18 hours. Dump it into the Pamed pan you intend to bake it in, put the lid on and leave it for another 2-3 hours. Preheat oven to 450 and bake 30 minutes with the lid on and 30 minutes with it off. Dump it onto a cooling rack. No flour on the counter and the bread doesn’t stick to the pan at all.

  • 9 barenakehd // Nov 15, 2007 at 8:18 am

    Growing up, my dad always used venison. We would come home to a house filled with meaty potato goodness.

    As I’ve grown up and wanted to recreate it, I enjoy adding a pepper or two to my stew to spice it up a bit.

    On cold rainy days like today we would take the broth at the bottom of the pot and make “instant mash” (potatoes) with it instead of water or milk… and serve it all piled together. Mmmmm it makes me hungry

  • 10 laureg // Nov 15, 2007 at 9:28 am

    The trick for crockpot stew is to brown the meat and onions quite well before you put them in the crockpot. The browning adds that dimension of flavor that I think you’re looking for.

  • 11 mjoe // Nov 15, 2007 at 11:48 am

    Sweet. I am so going to do this. Thanks for the recipe, Kathleen, cuz when I read Megan’s post the first thing I thought was — wait, if I have to throw things in 1-2 hours before it’s ready, then how is it ready when I get home?

    Next question, do you do anything different for chicken?

  • 12 Heidi // Nov 15, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    My mom throws in a packet of gravy mix to thicken the stew.

  • 13 Cinnamon // Nov 15, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    In case I haven’t sent you this before, here is a link to a column I wrote about slow cookers and a few recipes to try.

  • 14 lena // Nov 16, 2007 at 7:28 am

    Kitchen Bouquet is a nice faker for not browning the meat.

    And a little wine or beer is good. Adding wine is a little bougeois, but what isn’t these days? If you add the Kitchen Bouquet, they kind of cancel each other out in bougy-ness I think.

  • 15 tami // Nov 16, 2007 at 11:06 am

    This is so timely! I just picked up a crockpot for $10. I put holds on several library crockpot cookbooks, so I’m set to experiment!

  • 16 Nataline // Nov 27, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    I’ve been messing around with beef stew recipes and settled on the Mahogany Beef Stew from Epicurious. It has hoisin sauce in it and is very rich, very filling and incredibly tasty.

  • 17 Gina // Nov 29, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    Hey there,

    I know you now have more stew recipes than you can use, but try this one:

    It’s basically Paula Deen’s, and it is my favorite. I add veggies, too, and use red wine.

    If you ever need a couple more ideas, I have a “crockpot” category on the site… Least I can do for all the great ideas you have given me!


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