Thursday, February 26, 2015

Crock-Pot Beef Stew and Pot Roast

My 1980's vintage Crock-Pot 
I love to come home and have the house smell of dinner cooking! Beef stew and pot roast are perfect for the Crock-Pot. You can put all the ingredients together the night before, refrigerate, and start it the next morning. You could even make up several batches at once, freeze them, and just take them from the freezer to the Crock-Pot. If you want to brown the meat and/or saute the vegetables, by all means do so. I'm a "dump it all in the pot all at once" type of cook. I don't like to do any type of prep work than cutting up the meat and vegetables.

This recipe for Beef Stew is a stew itself from recipes I've used and combined over the years. Substitutions and additions are encouraged! Does someone in your family dislike peas or mushrooms? Don't add them! Did your mom or grandma add other root vegetables such as parsnips or sweet potatoes? Add or substitute to make this recipe your own!

  • 1 pound beef top round or similar stewing cut, cut in cubes
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 14 ounce can beef broth or homemade beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic minced
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes cubed, with or without skins
  • 1/2 pound carrots-frozen or fresh cut fork size
  • 4 -8 ounces mushrooms, fresh or canned (optional)
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen (optional)
  • 1 cup red wine such as burgandy (optional)

  • Total time: 8-9 hours
    • Prep time: 30 minutes
    • Cook time:           8-9 hours
  • Servings: 4-6

  1. Put meat in Crock-Pot.
  2. Pour flour, salt, and pepper over meat and stir to coat.
  3. Add remainder of ingredients.
  4. Cook on low for 8-9 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
  5. If making from a frozen premade batch, I would recommend thawing in the refrigerator overnight and cooking the next day.

Pot Roast

I’m not even sure if you can call this a recipe. The Crock-Pot makes the most tender pot roast imaginable. When it’s on sale,I buy a cut of chuck that weighs about 2 ½ pounds. Although I look for a lean cut, some fat is needed so that the meat is not dry. I put the entire piece of chuck in the Crock-Pot with about 1 quart of water. 

The great chef, Paul Prudhomme, said something to the effect that “Water is for washing,” meaning that it does not add to the flavor profile of the meat. I just can’t see spending money on beef broth for cooking the meat when the meat makes its own broth. I’ve tried adding burgundy wine to the roast but it seems to make the meat tougher. 

The meat is seasoned with salt and fresh ground pepper. I coarsely slice an onion and layer it on the beef itself and add a bay leaf to the water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours and it’s done! The meat is so tender that you don’t even need a knife. Fork shred the beef and marinate in barbecue sauce for the best BBQ beef sandwiches ever!
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