Beef Stew Made in a Slow Cooker

Wow. I have never encountered a scent as delightful and mouth-watering as this Slow Cooker Beef Stew. The irresistible fragrance made my mouth water for hours while the succulent beef chunks and vegetables cooked in the tasty gravy. I was eagerly anticipating lifting the lid and sampling a small bite. And when I finally did? Remarkable. This recipe for beef stew in a crockpot is a must-try before the end of winter.

Utilize your crock pot or slow cooker to create a richly seasoned Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew filled with tender chunks of beef and vibrant vegetables.

Beef stew in a crock pot.

Components for Creating Beef Stew

The basic version of beef stew is quite uncomplicated, consisting of chunks of beef, vegetables, broth, and seasonings cooked together to create a delightful and comforting gravy. However, I have elevated this beef stew recipe by incorporating some unique ingredients that enhance the umami and taste of the gravy. Although the list of ingredients may seem lengthy, I guarantee that the end result will be worth it. Here’s what you’ll need to make the most amazing slow cooker beef stew:

  • Cubed Chuck Steak – This type of meat, commonly used in stews, is known for being tough but can be transformed into a tender texture when cooked slowly in a slow cooker.
  • Multi-Purpose Flour – Coating the stew meat with a light layer of flour and searing it beforehand enhances the Maillard reaction and enriches the flavor. The flour also helps thicken the stew’s gravy.
  • Assorted Vegetables – A combination of carrots, onions, celery, and potatoes adds heartiness and flavor to the gravy. As they break down in the broth, they also contribute to its thickness.
  • Beef Stock – Acting as the foundation for the gravy, broth creates a moist environment for the meat to cook and become tender. It is important to use a broth with robust flavor, such as Better Than Bouillon.
  • Seasonings – This is where the recipe truly shines with an array of ingredients like garlic, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, rosemary, and thyme, creating a rich and flavorful gravy with layers of taste and savory goodness.

Tips for Making Beef Stew Thicker

There are various methods for thickening a beef stew, however, my preference is to let the stew thicken on its own as the vegetables simmer and dissolve into the broth. Initially, the stew may appear thin, but as you stir, the starches in the vegetables will gradually thicken the liquid, creating a gravy-like texture.

If you would like a sturdier vegetable, you have the option to include them during the final hour of cooking. In order to thicken the stew, you can also make use of a mixture of 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of water, known as a cornstarch slurry. Once the slurry is combined with the broth and heated until boiling, it will transform into a rich gravy. However, this technique may result in a less flavorful gravy and a glossy texture.

What other things can I include?

This beef stew cooked in a slow cooker is quite delicious on its own, but there are various options available if you wish to enhance its flavor. You can include 8 oz. of mushrooms at the start, sliced in half along with the vegetables, for an extra dose of vegetables. In case you have some red wine available, you can use it to deglaze the pan after browning the beef and then continue with making the gravy. For a more sophisticated presentation, you can substitute 8 oz. of pearl onions for the chopped onion listed in the recipe below.

Suggestions for Preparing the Perfect Beef Stew

  • Begin by browning the meat. This will give the beef a rich and intense flavor that cannot be achieved solely in the slow cooker’s moist environment.
  • Increase the umami level. By incorporating ingredients with high levels of umami, such as Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce, the stew’s flavor will be enhanced, resulting in a more “meaty” taste.
  • Be patient. Stew meat requires a long, slow cooking process in order for the tough connective tissues to break down and become tender. If the meat is still tough, simply lower the heat and continue cooking for a bit longer.
  • Don’t forget the vegetables. Adding a variety of vegetables to the stew not only adds texture and color, but also infuses the gravy with a plethora of flavors, resulting in a delicious and multi-dimensional stew.

Suggestions for Accompaniments to Beef Stew

This beef stew, cooked in a crockpot, is a complete meal in itself, but the mouth-watering thick brown gravy will leave you wanting to clean your plate. For extra satisfaction, I recommend serving your Slow Cooker Beef Stew with a side of bread.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Prepare Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Photo Illustration

Fresh produce ready to be used in beef stew, arranged neatly on a cutting board.

Begin by prepping the vegetables for the stew. You will require 2 lbs. of red potatoes, 1 yellow onion diced, 4 stalks of celery sliced, 3 carrots sliced, and 4 cloves of garlic minced.

Vegetables cooked in a slow cooker.

Put all your diced vegetables into a slow cooker or crockpot with a capacity of 4 or 5 quarts.

A bowl filled with stew meat, coated with flour, salt, and pepper.

In a bowl, add 1.5 lbs of stew meat (beef chuck). Evenly sprinkle 2 Tbsp of all-purpose flour, ¼ tsp of salt, and ¼ tsp of pepper over the meat. Mix the beef until it is evenly coated with the flour, salt, and pepper.

Brown the beef in a skillet.

Firstly, heat a large skillet at medium-high heat. Once it is adequately hot, pour in 2 Tbsp of cooking oil and swirl it around to evenly coat the surface. Next, add the stew meat and leave it to cook until it has browned on one side. Then, stir it and allow the other side to brown as well. Be careful not to stir too frequently, as this may prevent the beef from browning properly. Finally, transfer the beef to a slow cooker.

Ingredients for the gravy have been incorporated into the skillet.

Lower the temperature of the skillet to medium-low and incorporate 2 cups of beef broth, 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1.5 teaspoons of brown sugar, 1.5 teaspoons of dried rosemary, and 1.5 teaspoons of thyme. Continuously heat and mix the ingredients until all the caramelized pieces are dissolved from the base of the skillet.

The ingredients in the slow cooker are being coated with broth as it is poured over them.

Carefully pour the broth onto the ingredients in the slow cooker. It is acceptable if the broth does not completely cover the ingredients at this stage in the slow cooker.

The lid is being placed on top of the slow cooker.

Cover the slow cooker with the lid and let it cook for four hours on high setting or eight hours on low setting.

Slow cooker beef stew that has been cooked.

Once the stew has been cooking for four hours on high heat (or eight hours on low heat), it should have a similar appearance as shown in the image. Both the meat and vegetables should be soft and easy to chew. The consistency of the gravy may seem slightly watery at this stage, but there is no need for concern…

Beef stew being stirred in the slow cooker.

After stirring the stew, the potatoes will slightly dissolve and create a thick gravy with a rich consistency. It is recommended to taste the stew and add salt according to personal preference, depending on the type of broth used (no salt was added in this case).

Maximize the flavors of your beef stew by using a slow cooker or crock pot. This recipe incorporates rosemary and garlic to infuse the stew with intense flavor, resulting in tender beef and vibrant vegetables.

Enjoy the Slow Cooker Beef Stew on its own, or pour it over a bed of steaming rice or pasta. It is the perfect dish to keep you cozy and satisfied during chilly winter days!

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