Classic Beef Stew




When I was growing up. One of my favorite dishes was my mother’s beef stew. There was nothing fancy about it —just basic meat and vegetable combinations— but the house always smelled so good while it was cooking. This is the stew I’ve tried to capture in this recipe. That said, even Mon’s stew can be improved upon with the addition of mushrooms cooked in Madeira (see Variations, below).


Classic Beef Stew
Serves 6
  1. Medium to large (31⁄2 to 5 quart) slow cooker
  2. 1 tbsp oil 15 mL
  3. 2 lbs stewing beef, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes and patted dry 1 kg
  4. 2 onions, finely chopped
  5. 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  6. 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  7. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  8. 1 tsp dried thyme 5 mL
  9. 1 tsp salt 5 mL
  10. 1⁄2 tsp cracked black peppercorns 2 mL
  11. 2 bay leaves
  12. 1⁄4 cup whole wheat or sorghum flour 60 mL
  13. 2 cups beef broth 500 mL
  14. 1⁄2 cup dry red wine or water 125 mL
  1. 1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef, in batches, and brown, about 4 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
  2. 2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions, celery and carrots and cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, salt, peppercorns and bay leaves and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add broth and wine and cook, stirring, until thickened.
  3. 3. Transfer to stoneware and stir well. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours, until beef is very tender. Discard bay leaves. Just before serving, garnish liberally with parsley.
  4. Variations
  5. Classic Beef Stew with Madeira Mushrooms: In a skillet, melt 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter over medium-high heat. Add 12 oz (375 g) sliced button mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms release their liquid, about 7 minutes. Season to taste, then sprinkle with 1 tbsp (15 mL) allpurpose flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) Madeira or port wine and stir until thickened. Just before serving, stir into stew, then garnish with parsley.
  6. Beef Stew with Roasted Garlic: Mash 6 cloves roasted garlic and stir into stew before garnishing with parsley.
  1. If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (2 to 3 quart) slow cooker.
  2. An easy way to roast this quantity of garlic is to peel the cloves, remove the pith (the center part that often sprouts) then place the cloves on a piece of foil. Drizzle about 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) olive oil over the garlic, then fold up the foil to make a tight packet. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven for 20 minutes.
Judith Finlayson
Posted in Beef, Pork & Lamb, Recipes.


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