You’ll love serving up up a cozy 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 (or in school) 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 always feels like a breath of relief – for all of us. We magically relax as a family.
The crock pot is such a big help in this season, and we love this slow cooker stew just as much as we love our Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers, Crockpot Chicken and Noodle Soup and my Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos.
While there is everything you need right in the stew, I still 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
I hope you’ll enjoy this cozy meal just as much as we do – enjoy!
P.S: If you tried this recipe, why not leave me a review below to let me know how you liked it? You just have to tap the stars below to add your voting!
Serve up a hot meal without the fuss for your family tonight: This crock pot beef stew is the perfect easy comfort food dinner.
For the meat
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1.5 pounds beef stewing meat, in chunks
- 1-2 teaspoons salt, or less, depending on what kind of stock you're using
- Black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons flour
For the gravy
- 2 large yellow onions, cut into wedges
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup red wine, OR use more stock
- 2 cups beef stock
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
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
- 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, season with salt and pepper 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 and garlic until starting to soften. Stir in the Italian seasoning and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the herbs are fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour the red wine into the pan, scratching the browned bits off the bottom. Cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the stock, Worcestershire sauce and maple syrup. 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 and mushrooms. Very carefully (!) pour 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.
If you want a thick gravy: There are a few different methods to yield a thicker gravy.
- 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.
Cutting the vegetables: 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.
Browning the meat: Flouring and browning the meat before you add it to the crockpot will give you a wealth of extra flavor. It is a step you can leave out if time is very sparse – but the flavor and consistency of the stew will vastly benefit from NOT skipping this step.
Alcohol: The alcohol will evaporate as it cooks in the skillet (it would NOT evaporate as easily if cooked entirely in the crock pot). But if you’re uncomfortable using it, just use more broth.
Maple syrup: I get asked all the time why I put maple syrup in the stew, and it’s just there to add more depth to the flavor. It doesn’t make the stew sweet! But you can leave it out if you don’t want to add it.
Liquid amount: Some readers remarked that 2 cups of liquid doesn't seem enough for a stew. But before you add more broth, please remember that the added liquid about DOUBLES in a slow cooker dish as it cooks. The stew ends up with plenty of gravy as long as you stick to the amounts given for the vegetables and the beef.
Note: An earlier version of my recipe included fresh thyme and bay leaves, but I got a lot of feedback from people who don't keep these on hand, so I re-tested the recipe to make sure it tastes nice without them - and it does. Feel free to add a few sprigs of fresh thyme and a few bay leaves to the stew with the vegetables.
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Serving Size:1/6 of recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 385 Saturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 70mg Sodium: 823mg Carbohydrates: 38g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 11g Protein: 32g
P.S: For more stew recipes, check out our collection of homemade beef stew recipes!