Monday, February 18, 2008

Hearty Beef Stew

I just got my crockpot this month. So I figured I would try making one of the easiest dishes: beef stew.

The main ingredient: chuck roast (about 3 lb's):

Cut into small pieces, large pieces of fat removed:

Pat it dry a little bit (not sure why, but that's what the recipe said...)

With a little salt and pepper:

Now we're going to brown the meat a little bit before putting it in the crock pot.

We just need it a little brown. I'm not sure if this is really necessary. Next time I might just try throwing it into the crockpot.

This is good enough.

Now onions. If you haven't figured out, two of my favorite ingredients are onions and garlic.

Chop of the top and bottom first.

Diced into relatively large pieces.

With a little more vegetable oil, we brown the onions in the same pot the beef was browned in.

Now for some garlic.

After the onions are browned a little (like 6 minutes), we throw in the garlic for about 30 seconds.

Then we add 3 tablespoons of flour to make it thicker.

Then slowly add 2 cups of chicken broth.

We also were supposed to throw in a cup of red wine. Unfortunately, I didn't have red wine on hand. Since I didn't want to get rid of the wine, I added some white wine we had and some beef broth and Worcestershire sauce to give it a little more flavor.

Need to stir and make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get all those good bits of extra beef.

Then add two bay leaves (I added 3 since one was small). There's a difference between dried bay leaves and fresh ones. I think 1 dried bay leaf equals 2 fresh ones. We also throw in one tablespoon of dried thyme.

Now throw it into the crockpot.

Four red potatoes.

Peeled and cut up into smaller chunks.

Now for the carrots. It was a little intimidating using real carrots b/c I've never used them, and I think my mom's always used baby carrots.

Gotta peel them first (was pretty easy).

And then chopping them up -- again not hard at all.

The recipe didn't really call for celery, but I figured why not.

Chopped up.

The recipe also didn't call for canned tomatoes, but I really like stews this way. In fact next time, I'm going to add more than one can.

And in to the crockpot everything goes.

After a few stirs:

I set it for 5 hours on high. If I had more time, I would've done 10 hours on low, but I didn't. I actually came home at lunch time and made the meal. In all it took about 1:30 minutes to get all the stuff ready (with pictures taken, of course) and into the crockpot.

And here is how I left the kitchen after lunch. It's actually quite messy, and it's a good thing I came home and cleaned it up before Satyan got back.

Anyways, turn the clock 5 hours later, the kitchen is cleaned, and out comes beef stew.

With rice, here's what it looks like.

So overall I was pretty pleased with the dish. I have plenty left in my freezer, and it's quite easy to defrost and reheat. I thought the beef was a little dry (still very tender), which is weird since it was cooked in so much juice and in a crockpot. Maybe I should try preparing it earlier and using low heat? Also, i think I'm going to add more of a tomato base, rather than chicken stock/wine.

No comments: