Too much

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful! by Mae West
That's my philosophy about all things in life!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Beef Stew! My First Ever Crockpot Meal!

I'm such a nerd when it comes to cooking. Everything must be made from scratch, which most the time it means that it takes a lot of work and time to have a meal in our table.
I had been contemplating buying a crockpot for a long time, but just wasn't comfortable with the way it cooks. So a few months ago, i needed to keep a stew warm during a catering event and ended up borrowing one from a friend and kind of liked it... a week later on my monthly trip to costco, i picked one up. Somehow i got home and never got around to opening it, and my husband moved the box up to the attic. This morning i had decided on making some beef stew like i usually do, slow braised in my Le Creuset, but being a week before Christmas and with a huge to do list, i couldn't think of a way of doing it. So I brought the crockpot down and had a nice warm meal on a chilly busy day, and now i get it... the whole crockpot world!

3 lbs chuck, cut into cubes or already cut stew meat
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup pancetta, chopped
4-6 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large carrots, cubed
3 ribs celery, cubed
1 cup red wine
2-3 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 can of corn

Sprinkle salt and pepper all over cubed beef. Next sprinkle the flour all over the beef.
Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add pancetta and cook until crispy. Add floured beef, a few pieces at a time without crowding the pan, add more oil if needed. Remove the browned pieces and set aside on a platter.

When done with all the beef, add onions to the pan. Fry for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, celery and carrots and more oil if needed. Cook for 5 minutes. Return beef to pan and add wine, stir it well getting all the brown bits on bottom of pan dissolved. Add stock, tomato paste, corn, bay leaves and thyme. Transfer to crockpot and cook on high for 5-6 hours, depending on how much liquid you like; more liquid, less time. Add fresh parsley and serve over egg noodles.

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