Thick and meaty, this is the best beef stew you will ever taste. Make this excellent stew with these easy to follow step by step photo instructions.
Publisher Note: Originally published March 5, 2011. The text has been re-edited and the photos updated. But this time, the recipe has evolved some over the years. So the technique has updated some also.
I love beef. I like pork and chicken, but I LOVE beef the most. Too much Iowa in me I guess. While it’s still winter here, it’s a very good time for an easy slow cooker beef stew.
I started with a Cooks Country recipe (subscription required), but I think it is unrecognizable now. It would feed a large army. I wanted only the small army size please (read “For Two with leftovers”). Also, lots of fuss as usual from Cooks Illustrated has been removed.
This is the seventh soup in my “Week of Soups.” Another classic soup.
Pre-Week of Soup Recipes
Week of Soups Recipes
- Extra Thick Crock Pot Cheeseburger Soup
- Easy One Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Simple Crock Pot Chicken Stew
- Old Fashion Vegetable Beef Soup
- Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Excellent Taco Soup in a Crock Pot
- The Best Crock Pot Beef Stew
Pro Tips: Notes on Crock Pot Beef Stew
The original Cook’s Country recipe is great, but this is a “cooking for two” site, and it produces a lot. I have already decreased the recipe by almost 50% but even my cut down version cuts in half fairly easily. Or make the whole recipe and leftovers are good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Or in a freezer, 2-3 months and longer in a deep freezer.
I keep a little fuss at the beginning that I thought would enhance taste with browning the meat and onion, but I used the time to cut the other veggies so really minimal extra time, just one dirty pan.
You could probably skip this extra work of browning and just dump the ingredients in, but I think the taste was great and worth the little extra work.
If you want, use 3 lbs of a leaner beef you want healthier. Or buy that pre-cut “stew meat” at the store if you’re lazy.
The thyme has been made optional and I our house it just is not done. My wife does not like it in this recipe, and I tend to agree. Cooks Country seems to love it, so the choice is yours.
Thickening in the Crock Pot
Tapioca is used to thicken this recipe. I think that is an excellent choice since it can be added at the beginning of cooking. Another plus is reheating where it is fine.
Cornstarch reheated liquids are gel-like and gross. Using a roux with flour is just fussier then it needs to be.
Start by trimming about 3 pounds of boneless chuck roast or use stew meat if you are lazy. Give it a light dusting of flour and place in hot oil over medium-high heat in the large nonstick pan. Brown for about 7-8 minutes. Move the meat to crock pot but keep any liquid in the pan.
While browning meat, peel 4 carrots and cut into 1/2 inch thick medallions. Scrub 1 pound of red potatoes and cut into chunks. Other potatoes could be used.
Mince 3 medium onions. Crush or mince 6 cloves of garlic. Add onion, 6 oz. tomato paste, and 1/2 tsp salt into the hot pan. Cook until onions are soft and lightly browned. About 8 minutes and try to add the garlic for the last minute.
When the onion is ready, add one 14 oz can of beef broth to the pan and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add all ingredients except the peas in the crock pot, stir well and set to 8 hours on low. At hour 7, add 1 cup frozen peas.
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Originally published March 5, 2011