Crock Pot Beef Stew

Crock Pot Beef Stew

(serves 6)

2 1/2 pounds of chuck roast, trimmed and cut into chunks
olive oil
S & P

5-6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks on the diagonal
4-5 celery stalks, cut into chunks on the diagonal
2 small yellow onions, cut chunky style
6 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly

3 T tomato paste

1 C dry red wine for deglazing

1 C dry red wine for stock

6 C beef stock

1 T dried thyme
4-5 whole cloves
5-6 bay leaves

1 container of cremini mushrooms, remove stems, dice caps

2 pounds new potatoes, cut chunky style
1 t salt
1 t baking soda

1 C fresh (or frozen) peas

2 T butter, very soft
2 T all-purpose flour

In a preheated cast iron skillet, add about 1/4 C olive oil. Brown meat in batches and season generously with salt and cracked pepper. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

Wipe out skillet. Add another 1/4 C of olive oil. Add carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Again, season generously with salt and cracked pepper. Don’t over stir! Allow some browning of the veggies. Also, water will be extracted from the veggies from the addition of the salt. Continue to sauté veggies until skillet becomes “dryish” again.

Add tomato paste. Mix in well. An additional amount of oil may be needed. Continue to sauté as a deep red color develops. Some sticking is good. Just watch your heat. No need to rush this. Depth of flavor is forming.

Add 1 C of wine to the veggie mix. Raise heat and get a nice bubble going. Reduce the wine until thickened. You should be able to draw a line across the bottom of the skillet and it should hold. See photo.

Place veggies, drippings and reserved meat into a crock pot. Add beef stock, remaining 1 C of red wine, thyme, cloves and bay leaves. Turn on high and cover.

While that is simmering, sauté mushrooms in the same skillet with some olive oil, salt, cracked pepper and a pinch of dried thyme. You may need to add additional oil as the mushrooms soak it up! Develop a nice golden color. Reserve to a bowl.

Fill a large pot 2/3 full with water. Bring to a boil. Carefully add 1t of salt and 1t of baking soda. It will bubble, be careful. Add potato pieces. Again be careful not to splash hot water on yourself! I used a sieve to gently lower them into the water. Cook until potatoes are tender. Drain in a colander. The potatoes will have rough edges compliments of the baking soda. Reserve.

Continue to simmer the meat until tender. Several hours will be required.

For service:

Stir together softened butter and flour until a smooth paste forms. Add this to the stew. Mix in well. Add reserved potatoes, peas and mushrooms. Allow to heat thoroughly. Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper, if needed. Ladle stew into a warmed bowl and garnish with some chopped parsley. A good loaf of bread and a better bottle of red wine is all that is needed.

Suggestion: Edmeades Zinfandel from Mendocino