There’s nothing like coming home to the tantalizing aroma of a home cooked meal — to know that there is no work to be done, just dish it out and eat.
But that is a rarity for me. As a twentysomething single who works nontraditional hours, the only way this happens in my home is with the help of my slow cooker and morning prep.
One day I was in desperate need of good, old-fashioned home cooking. So I set out on an adventure to find a beef stew recipe that would satisfy this craving. Of course, the old-fashioned idea was thrown out the window almost immediately; I knew this was a job for the Crock Pot.
But then the real troubles began. Slow cooker recipes are made for families — four people or more, eight to 10 servings. Had I followed any of the recipes I found, I would have beef stew coming out my ears. It was time to modify.
The recipe I chose is a combination of the many recipes out there scaled down to better suit the single cook. Mind you, I still got four or five meals out of the dish. Can you imagine if I had used the suggested four pounds of beef? Insanity.
Crock Pot Beef Stew
What you need:
2 pounds bottom round, well trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup olive oil (plus more if needed)
1 large onions, diced
1/2 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 pound potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1/4 pound baby carrots (about 1 cup)
1 cups beef broth
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
What to do:
Coat the beef in the flour. Heat a few tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meat, a few pieces at a time, adding more oil as necessary. Transfer to a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker.
Add the onions to the skillet and cook over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and coat the onions; transfer to the cooker. Pour the wine into the skillet and scrape up any browned bits; add to the cooker.
Stir in the potatoes, carrots, broth, salt, thyme and bay leaf. Cover and cook on low heat for 7 hours, or on high for 4 hours.
Add the peas and heat through.
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