I received a slow cooker as a housewarming gift a few years ago but was always nervous to use it – until I discovered how life was made simple…thru a slow cooker! I still have a lot of exploring to do and meals to try in my slow cooker – but one meal that’s a certain winner is beef stew! So easy to make, lasts you a few meals and you really can’t go wrong with it…here goes:

1. Add some vegetable oil to a pot (on the stove) and brown your stew beef…I usually make about 2 pounds so it can last a few days…some people flour their meat before browning – I just think that’s an extra step that’s not really necessary.

Browning the beef stew

2. Once your beef is browned on all sides (this should take just a few minutes and you would want to do it in batches to brown them faster) – transfer them to the slow cooker…add 2 cups of beef stock or water….enough to cover the meat.

3. I throw in all of the extra spices right in the crock pot. (NOTE: I usually let my beef stew marinate the night before so the seasoning can penetrate the meat…add salt, pepper, paprika, enough Mojo marinade to get the meat wet – put it in a ziplock bag and throw it in the fridge overnight). Once the meat is in the crockpot – add 2 bay leaves, splash one or two drops of red wine, teaspoon of sugar, 2 garlic cloves, and a special sauce that I like to use – Mr. Yoshida’s Marinade + Cooking sauce….you don’t need it – but I like to drop a teaspoon or so in the crockpot for extra flavor…

4. Add one large onion (cut into chunks) to your pot, along with 2 tablespoons of tomato paste to thicken the sauce. Top it off with a few dashes of worcestershire sauce. Stir around to make sure everything is mixed properly.

5. Once you’ve added all of your seasonings, check your water level to make sure your meat is covered – then cover the pot and put your timer on…I usually get this going around 9AM and leave it in the slow cooker for 8 hours.

6. With less than 2 hours left in the crock pot – add cut up celery, carrots (or use baby carrots) and potatoes and throw them in the pot to cook for the duration.

Potatoes, carrots, celery added...oh and I threw in some leftover mushrooms I had....

With the meat cooking on low for 8 hours – expect that your home will be filled with a great aroma! Once your timer goes off – you’re done!

For some people, the potatoes are enough – but not in my house, I have to make rice with this meal or even polenta…you can’t lose either way! And again, since I’m not an expert, below are some links to different beef stew recipes that I’ve tried. There is no one right way!

The Pioneer Woman: Beef Stew with Beer and Paprika

Paula Deen: Old-Time Beef Stew

Happy cooking!