I saw a recipe for slow-cooker beef stew. The concept was not new to to me but the recipe sounded so good that I decided to make it tonight. Poor planning, on my part caused me to have to "adapt" it, just a tad. =) I didn't have all the ingredients and I didn't have enough time.
The missing ingredients weren't that hard to get around, actually. We didn't have stew meat, but we did have fajita strips. I went out to the garden and dug up some potatoes. I replaced some of the beef broth with wine and some with water. Also, I changed a few things to suit our preferences - less tomato paste and upped the amount of veggies.
The time issue was solved buy using a technique I often use when making stew on the stovetop. And that is, I roast the veggies in the oven, before adding them to the rest. Not only does this speed things up, but it adds color and flavor to the veggies.
So now I will try to get this into a recipe format so you can try it out and see your family enjoys it as much as mine did.
Fast, Slow-Cooked Beef Stew
1 lb stew meat (or fajita strips)
2 Tbs steak seasoning (recipe below)
All-purpose flour, as needed (about a cup)
6 or 7 medium potatoes (or as many as you care to dig)
6 or 7 carrots
1 large onion, chopped
~3.5 oz of tomato paste (I buy this paste because it comes in a jar so I don't have to use it all at once)
2 cups of red wine
3 to 4 cups of water
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper, to taste
Spread out the beef and pat it dry with a paper towel (it doesn't have to be bone-dry). Season with steak seasoning and toss in flour to coat. Heat a few tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the meat, a few pieces at a time, adding more oil if needed. As you remove the browned meat, put it in the crockpot.
Once all the beef has been browned and removed, put the chopped onions in the skillet and cook until tender. Stir in the tomato paste and the wine and scrape up any browned bits. Simmer for couple minutes and then into the crockpot that goes too. Add about 3 cups of water, thyme, and bay leaf. Turn crockpot on low.
Meanwhile dig some potatoes, or just retrieve them from your pantry. Wash and cut them into about 2 inch cubes (peel or don't peel - it's up to you), and peel and slice the carrots. Put the potatoes and carrots into a large baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Bake at 400º until they are just tender and have begun to brown (do not overcook).
Stir the potatoes and carrots into the meat mixture in the crockpot. Add more salt, pepper, or water, if needed, and cook on low for about 3 hours, or until veggies are cooked through. Serve with buttered bread.
2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp (that's a good sized pinch) coriander
This is the best steak seasoning I have ever had anywhere. I make up a large batch of this to have on hand. Besides using it on steak, roasts, and beef for stew, get some extra thin-sliced steak from your butcher and season with this mix before pan frying, for the best cheese steak sandwich you'll ever make at home. Yum!