Slow Cooker Beef Stew
By America's Test Kitchen | Cook's Illustrated
YIELD 8 servings
Tommy’s very favorite meal (especially great with crusty herbed or garlic bread). Note that the slow cooker simplifies the cooking, but the prep still takes a bit of time – so best as a weekend endeavor – with a great big payoff! Plan for 6-7 hours on slow cooker high setting (9-10 hours on low). I usually make it on Saturday or Sunday AM in prep for dinnertime.That said, like all stews, it is even better the next day!!
5 Lbs. boneless chuck-eye roast, trimmed and cut into 1 ½ inch cubes (best to buy the whole roast and break it down, rather than getting “stew” beef – whatever THAT is!)
Salt & ground black pepper
2-4 T. olive oil
2 large onions, chopped medium
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 can tomato paste
1 ½ c. dry red wine
2 c. chicken broth
2 c. beef stock
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves (not powdered)
2 Bay leaves
2 Lbs. small red bliss potatoes, scrubbed (a couple bags of those colorful combos from whole foods work great)
5 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks (or 1 bag of baby carrots peeled and ready to go)
1 Lb. container of peeled cipollini or other small, whole red or white onion (uncooked)
½ c. all-purpose flour
1 c. frozen peas (optional)
2 T. minced fresh parsley leaves
Dry the beef thoroughly with paper towels, season generously with salt and pepper and brown in oil in a 12” skillet. Work in batches - don’t crowd the pan or the meat will steam rather than brown. Add oil as needed. Transfer each batch to the slow cooker.
When meat is done add the chopped onions and cook until softened and slightly brown.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant – about 30 seconds.
Add the tomato paste and brown for about 5-10 minutes (don’t worry if it darkens and looks burned on the bottom of the pan – you're creating a fond that will add a lot of flavor to the stew)
Add the red wine and turn to high heat stirring to scrape up all the brown bits. Pour mixture into the slow cooker.
Stir in the chicken and beef stock (reserving ½ c. for later), thyme and bay leaves into the slow cooker.
Nestle the potatoes, carrots and whole onions into the slow cooker, placing the potatoes around the outer perimeter of the bowl (this keeps them from getting mushy during the long cook).
Cook on high for 6-7 hours (or 9-10 hours on low).
When meat is tender, whisk flour with remaining ½ c. beef stock until smooth and stir into slow cooker.
Cook on high for another 10-15 minutes until stew thickens (you can make and add more flour-stock slurry if the mixture needs more thickening – but be sure to let the mixture cook for at least 10-15 minutes afterward to cook off the floury taste).
Stir in parsley and peas (if using). Season to taste with salt & pepper before serving.