Serve up a hot meal without the fuss for your family tonight: This crock pot beef stew is the perfect easy comfort food dinner.
Stew is one of my favorite things to cook during fall and winter. Crockpot Tuscan White Bean Chicken Stew, Slow Cooker Irish Beef Stew or Mediterranean Slow Cooker Chicken Stew are all regulars from October to February.
Sitting down to a cozy, home-cooked family dinner is one of my top priorities in life right now. It is good for our children, it is good for our marriage and it is good for me – because it makes me feel accomplished.
Prepping dinner in the morning when the kids are generally in a good mood is the best thing I can do to put a hot dinner on the table, relatively stress free. Hooray for slow cookers!
This crock pot beef stew is a recipe born out of this busy season I’m in right now.
It makes it so easy to put a hot and comforting meal on the table – without losing my mind. And the most magical part?
Sitting down to that steaming pot of fragrant beef stew always feels like a breath of relief – for all of us. We magically relax as a family.
My best crock pot beef stew cooking tips for you:
Try to find the time to brown the meat
Flouring and browning the meat before you add it to the crockpot will give you a wealth of extra flavor.
It is definitely a step you can leave out if time is very short – but the flavor and consistency of the stew will vastly benefit from NOT skipping this step.
How to cut the vegetables for beef stew:
It is important to cut the veggies roughly into the same size chunks, otherwise they won’t cook evenly.
Also, do not cut them too small and do not cut them too big (I know, great advice 😉 )
When cut too small, they will dissolve. So you can leave them quite chunky. Just pay attention that you cut them in a way so a regular adult can eat the veggies without having to cut them up.
The great thing about stew is that it’s a rustic dish – so you can definitely get away with rustic chopping, it doesn’t have to be perfect by any means.
How to make a thick beef stew in the crockpot:
There are a few different methods.
The flouring of the meat helps a lot with thickening the gravy later on.
If you love very thick beef stew, you can add a shredded FLOURY potato in addition to everything else.
OR you can stir a cornstarch slurry into the stew about 10-15 minutes before cooking time is up and then cook it with the lid off for the remaining time – it’s what I do with my crockpot mediterranean chicken stew.
What are good sides for beef stew?
Everything you need is right in the stew, but I love adding a side or two to stretch the meal.
Some of our favorites:
- a crusty no knead bread
- garlic parmesan monkey bread if you don’t have time for a yeast dough
- mashed potatoes – uhm yes, there are potatoes in the stew, but it’s still an amazing combination
Crock Pot Beef Stew
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For the meat
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1.5 pounds beef stewing meat in chunks
For the gravy
- 2 large yellow onions cut into wedges
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/3 cup red wine OR use more stock
- 2 cups beef stock
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1-2 teaspoons salt or less, depending on what kind of stock you’re using
- Black pepper to taste
For the vegetables
- 3 large waxy potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
- 4 large carrots peeled, ends trimmed and cut into chunks
- 4 large celery sticks trimmed and thickly sliced
- 1/2 pound brown mushrooms cleaned and quartered
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup frozen peas no need to defrost
- Brown the meat: Heat the oil in a large and deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef cubes and stir. Sprinkle the flour over the meat and stir well. Cook until the beef is browned on all sides (do not stir too much, or the beef will not brown properly). Remove to a 5-6 quart slow cooker.
- Start the gravy: Put the skillet back over medium high heat. If needed, add a little more oil. Cook the onions until starting to brown. Stir in the garlic, Italian seasoning and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the herbs are fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour the red wine into the pan, scartching the browned bits off the bottom. Cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the stock, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil (this will help the stew start cooking faster once it is in the crock), then switch off the heat.
- Transfer to the slow cooker: On top of the meat, place the potatoes, carrots, celery, mushrooms, thyme and bay. Very carefully (!) ladle the hot liquid from the skillet into the crockpot, making sure the liquid runs down all the way to the bottom and underneath the meat (stir a little if needed).
- Cook: Cook the stew on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGh for 4 hours. 10 minutes before cooking time is over, stir in the peas. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed. Either finish cooking with the lid open (if you want a thicker stew) OR closed if you want it soupier.