Slow Cooker Beef Stew
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Slow Cooker Beef Stew – Comfort food at its finest with thick and tender chunks of potatoes, buttery soft potatoes, and mixed vegetables. The broth is rich, deep, and exquisite thanks to a mixture of beef broth, red wine, and a mixture of herbs and spices. IMPRESS your family and friends with this CLASSIC beef stew recipe!
Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe
For all you meat-and-potatoes people, you’re going to absolutely be in comfort food heaven with my slow cooker beef stew. However, this isn’t just any meat and potatoes recipe.
Slow cooker beef stew has thick chunks of tender beef, buttery soft potatoes, mixed vegetables, and the stew broth is absolutely exquisite.
If one can call stew broth upscale, this stew is just that courtesy of the beef broth, red wine, Worcestershire and soy sauces.
The stew is seasoned and perfumed with herbs and spices including garlic, onions, rosemary, thyme, and smoked paprika.
During the slow cooking process all of these flavors marry to form a rich, deep, and hearty flavor profile that will impress your family, friends, and anyone who tries this beef stew.
Ingredients in Slow Cooker Beef Stew
For this classic beef stew recipe made in your slow cooker, you’ll need the following ingredients on hand:
- Chuck roast
- All-purpose flour
- Smoked paprika or regular paprika
- Olive oil
- Red wine
- White onion
- Unsalted butter
- Beef broth
- Tomato paste
- Soy sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- Beef bouillon
- Bay leaves
- Frozen mixed vegetables
- Corn starch
- Kitchen Bouquet, optional
How to Make Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Making beef stew in your Crock-Pot is easy by following these straightforward steps:
Tip: Make sure to read the full recipe in the recipe card section below before beginning so you are sure what you’re doing and will be doing since elements in the recipe start on the stove and finish in the slow cooker.
Step 1: Trim and cube your Chuck roast and then toss it in mixture of flour, salt, pepper, and paprika.
Step 2: To a large heavy skillet, brown the Chuck roast and then transfer it into your slow cooker.
Step 3: Add the red wine to deglaze your skillet.
Add half the butter and melt it.
Step 4: Add the onions and cook the onion for 5 minutes. Pour this over the beef in the slow cooker.
Step 5: To the slow cooker, add the beef broth, tomato paste, soy and Worcestershire sauces, garlic, beef bouillon, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and stir.
Step 6: Add the potatoes and vegetables.
Step 7: Dissolve the corn starch into the water and pour the mixture into the slow cooker.
Step 8: Cover and cook on either low or high in your slow cooker.
Step 9: Ten minutes before serving, add the remaining butter and optional Kitchen Bouquet, and then serve.
Should I Cook Beef Stew on Low or High in my Slow Cooker?
This is up to you, however keep in mind that the longer the beef cooks, the more tender it becomes. For me this beef stew is a recipe where low-and-slow is the way to go.
Therefore, cook on low for about 8 hours.
However, if you’re pressed for time, cook on high for about 4 hours.
Tips: Keep in mind that all slow cookers cook differently, and depending on how browned your beef is going in, whether you used a two versus three-pound Chuck roast, will all dictate cooking times.
Cook until the beef is done to your liking and don’t get too hung up on what the clock says.
Can I Make Beef Stew Without a Slow Cooker?
Although I am not typically a person who “loves” the slow cooker because 30-minute meals done quickly on the stovetop or oven are where it’s at for me, this beef stew recipe is perfect when made in the slow cooker.
However, you can adapt it to make it in a large Dutch oven with a lid in your oven.
You’ll need to do some research on this online, but I suggest starting the recipe off the same as you do as I have written it for the slow cooker, but rather than then transferring the browned beef and onions with the remaining ingredients into a slow cooker, keep them in the Dutch oven.
Cover it, and braise it low and slow, probably in a 325F oven for 4 to 6 hours, give or take.
Again, do your own research since I haven’t tested this and am merely providing logical guesses.
What Cut of Beef is Best for Beef Stew?
For slow cooker beef stew, I use Chuck roast. I use it because the fat content and internal marbling creates finished beef that is just so tender and juicy.
Plus, it tends to be a pretty inexpensive cut of beef which is always nice since beef can get expensive in a hurry!
Sometimes you can find beef that’s labeled as ‘stew meat’ and can be a mixture of Chuck roast with other cuts of meat.
What Kind of Potatoes Should I Use for Beef Stew made in a Crock-Pot?
I used Russet potatoes which are a starchy potato. They tend to break down a bit when simmering because, which in this slow cooker stew recipe, I like.
If you want the potatoes to stay more intact, use a waxier potato like a Yukon Gold or a red potato.
You can peel the potatoes or leave them unpeeled, your choice.
Tip: Cut the potatoes on the chunkier side of bite-size because otherwise they tend to really break down and almost disappear after their long simmering time in the slow cooker.
Are Fresh or Dried Herbs Better for Slow Cooker Beef Stew?
It’s always nice to cook with fresh herbs but if you don’t keep them on hand, dried herbs are fine.
Specially, I am referring to the rosemary and thyme.
What Kind of Red Wine To Use for Slow Cooker Beef Stew?
Look for a dry red wine for Crock Pot beef stew such as:
- Cabernet sauvignon
- Pinot Noir
Tips: Use whatever dry or dry-ish red you have open. If you don’t have any open, use something nice, but don’t break the bank here. A 10 dollar bottle of red from Trader Joe’s or similar is great here!
Do I Have to Use Red Wine in Slow Cooker Beef Stew?
Red wine is used in beef stew as a means to deglaze your skillet after browning the beef.
Immediately when you add it to the pan, it will steam and bubble up like crazy. In my opinion, all the alcohol just burnt off right there.
Plus, then it gets simmered for another 4 to 8 hours in your Crock-Pot so that without a doubt all the alcohol cooks off.
That’s my way of saying don’t worry about the alcohol content – plus it’s only a half cup in a huge pot of stew!
And it really adds a lovely layer of flavor to the stew and it’s my strong recommendation to use the red wine.
However, if you’re someone who doesn’t drink alcohol or are serving it to those who don’t, you can substitute the one-half cup wine with an extra half cup of beef broth.
Making Slow Cooker Beef Stew In Advance
If you want to make beef stew ahead of time, my suggestions are to get it to the point where everything is in the slow cooker, and you’re about to slow cook it for 4 to 8 hours.
At that point, you can refrigerate it and then do the slow cooking the next day noting that it’ll take longer to slow cook because you’re starting with very cold ingredients.
Alternatively, you can get everything in the slow cooker and then transport it to a destination.
For example, this is handy if you’re going to someone’s house and are asked to bring a dish. You can help the hostess with other cooking, cleaning, and organizing during the 4 hours it slow cooks.
Serving and Storage Suggestions for Slow Cooker Beef Stew
This beef stew truly doesn’t need anything else! It’s so hearty and comforting on its own.
However, you can’t go wrong with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a hunk of crusty French bread or a dinner roll.
Slow cooker beef stew will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 5 months.
I think that stews like this taste even better in the following days so you and your family are in for a real treat.
As time passes, the stew may thicken up a bit more as the broth is absorbed into the other ingredients.
Tips For the Best Slow Cooker Beef Stew
I’ve provided some tips already such as low and slow is my referred cooking method rather than cooking faster on the high heat setting.
Don’t lift the lid of your slow cooker and “check on” the stew too often. Every time you do that, you’re allowing heat to escape, and it will lengthen the cooking process. Leave it alone.
If you’re cooking on high, I wouldn’t even bother “checking” until at least 6 hours have passed since it simply won’t be anywhere near done.
Red wine adds to the richness in flavor that classic beef stew has and unless you have very good reason, don’t skip it.
If you’ve never heard of Kitchen Bouquet that’s okay. It’s been around forever although isn’t terribly common other than maybe in your grandmother’s kitchen.
It’s optional in my slow cooker beef stew recipe, but if you add a few drops 10 minutes before serving, it adds a nice rich brown color and makes the overall stew look more appetizing. It does very slightly enhance the flavor as well. Keep it on hand for gravies and stews if you want to darken the color a bit.
What’s not optional is the butter in beef stew, especially at the end.
There are only 4 tablespoons used in the whole recipe, two of which are used when you brown the onion, and the remaining two tablespoons at the end. It really makes the stew broth silky smooth and lends such a comfort food touch.
- 2 to 3 pounds chuck roast, trimmed and cubed into bite-sized pieces
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup dry red wine*
- 1 medium white onion, diced small
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 7 to 8 cups beef broth
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (I use lite or reduced sodium)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 5 cloves garlic, finely minced, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon beef bouillon
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1 sprig fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 2 or 3 bay leaves
- 2 large Russet potatoes**, diced in chunky bite-sized pieces
- 2 ½ cups frozen mixed vegetables
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1/4 cold water
- 2 to 3 drop Kitchen Bouquet, optional
- Cut the beef into bite-sized pieces, trimming any large pieces of fat hanging from it, but leave any fat that is marbled into the beef alone because it adds flavor to the stew.
- To a large bowl, add the flour, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and stir to combine.
- Toss the meat in this dry ingredients mixture until it is evenly coated.
- To a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, add the oil, and add some of the beef, and cook over medium-high heat to sear it. Flip intermittently and as needed so that all sides of the beef cubes are evenly seared and browned. Tip - Do not overcrowd the beef or it will steam and not sear, so do your browning in batches. As the meat is done, set it aside into your slow cooker and continue the process until it's all browned and in the slow cooker.
- Add the red wine to your skillet to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Note - It will bubble up vigorously and steam, so use caution when you add it. If you are not using wine, use 1/2 cup of beef broth instead.
- Scape and stir the wine until the meat juices and bits are loosened from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the onion, half the butter (reserve the remaining 2 tablespoons for step 10), and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are becoming translucent; stir frequently.
- Add the onions and cooking liquid to the slow cooker.
- Add the beef broth (start with 7 cups and see how it looks), tomato paste, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, beef bouillon, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and stir to combine.
- Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables (they can be unthawed or straight from the freezer), and stir to combine; set aside.
- To a small bowl, add the corn starch, cold water, and stir to combine until a slurry is formed.
- Add the slurry to the slow cooker and whisk it into the ingredients in the slow cooker.
- Cover it with the lid and cook on low for about 8 hours. Although you can cook on high for 4 hours, low and slow is my preference and the meat becomes more tender the longer it cooks.
- 10 minutes before serving, remove the whole sprigs of rosemary and thyme if you used fresh, remove the bay leaves, optionally add a few drops of Kitchen Bouquet (adds a rich brown color and a slight bit of flavor), add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, cover again with the lid, allow the butter to melt, and then stir to combine.
- Beef stew is done when the beef is tender and pierces very easily with a fork (has an internal temp of 165F although I don't take the temperature), and the potatoes and vegetables are fork tender. Tip - It's very hard to overcook the beef, but you can overcook the vegetables to the point of mush, although this is not very likely.
- Taste the stew and if necessary, add a bit more salt or pepper, and stir to combine. Note - If you prefer a brothier stew and not quite as thick, in the second half of the cooking process (after about 4 to 6 hours cooking on low heat) add the additional 1 cup of broth (8 cups total rather than 7).
- Optionally serve with freshly grated Parmesan and crusty bread or dinner rolls. Stew will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 1 week and in the freezer for up to 4 months.
*Dry red wines such as Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec. Syrah, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo are all good options.
**I used Russet potatoes which are a starchy potato. They tend to break down a bit when simmering because, which in this slow cooker stew recipe, I like. If you want the potatoes to stay more intact, use a waxier potato like a Yukon Gold or a red potato. You can peel the potatoes or leave them unpeeled, your choice. Tip: Cut the potatoes on the chunkier side of bite-size because otherwise they tend to really break down and almost disappear after their long simmering time in the slow cooker.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 637Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 125mgSodium: 5606mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 53g
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