Saturday, February 23, 2013

Beef stew

I mentioned before that I had bought a small, 2.5qt crock pot that was better suited to cooking for my small family of 2. Well, today I bought a 6qt. Why? You ask? Well, my small group bible study has a soup supper during our gatherings every other week, which two families provide each time. My little pot was not big enough for my share. So, since I saw they were on sale, I bought one. I is the nice kind, made for traveling, with a lid that latches on.

Today, a friend and her son were coming over for an unspecified amount of time, so I thought, just in case, I would make something for us all to eat. That is what the impetus was to buy the pot today. So I bought the goodies to make beef stew.

My beef stew is an amalgamation of recipes I have read and tried over the years.

3 lb beef chuck roast, cut into chunks
1 small package baby carrots
1 bag frozen chopped onions
4-5 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into chunks
Salt, pepper and thyme to taste
1 carton beef stock (this is sold by Swanson, and is richer than beef broth)
1 cup red wine or dark beer (Guinness makes a nice St. Patrick's stew, with some quartered prunes added to counter the bitterness of the beer. Other beer I like is Newcastle Brown Ale)

Place veggies in bottom of crock and season with salt, pepper and thyme. Place meat chunks on top, and season again. Cover and cook until meat and potatoes are tender, 5 hours on high, or 8-10 hours on low.

When done, you can either leave the broth thin and soup-like, or you can thicken it. My preferred method of thickening stews with potatoes is using instant mashed potatoes. Sprinkle some in, stir, and repeat until desired thickness. Make sure you wait a bit between additions, as the flakes need to soak up juice.

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