Saturday, November 6, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Beef and Vegetable Stew

So the inspiration for my recipe pick was a leftover butternut squash that I did not know what to do with. In the end, I decided that I would make a beefy vegetable soup (which I have never made before) and cube the squash to put in it. Then I decided to make it a crockpot recipe so that I could fix it and forget it; it was a busy day.

Beef and Vegetable Stew

This is a good old-fashioned basic beef stew. No prebrowning is required. Toss everything in the slow cooker and 8 to 9 hours later, the stew is ready to serve.

* 6 medium russet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and cubed
* 6 medium carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/4-inch slices
* 1 onion, coarsely chopped
* 1 celery rib, chopped
* 2 pounds lean boneless beef stew meat or boneless beef cross rib roast, trimmed of fat and cut
into 1-inch cubes
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced peeled tomatoes
* 1 cup dry red wine
* 1 teaspoon dry mustard
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* salt

1. In a 6-quart electric slow cooker, mix the potatoes, carrots, onion, and celery. Toss the beef with the flour to coat evenly. Add to the slow cooker. Top with the tomatoes and their liquid mixed with the red wine, dry mustard, thyme, and pepper.

2. Cover and cook on the high heat setting 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Reduce the heat setting to low and cook 7 to 8 hours longer, or until the beef is tender, stirring once or twice during cooking, if possible. Season with salt to taste.

From my experience: I used the butternut squash and cut potato requirement to 4. I have never cooked butternut squash this way so it was an experiment. The squash ended up getting so soft, they lost their shape and acted as a thickening agent and turned the soup an orange tint. I didn't have any red wine, so I used a couple of substitutions. I wanted to stretch this recipe a little so I added a carton of beef broth. Plus I added a couple of splashes of Worcestershire sauce, which I had seen used in other vegetable soup recipes; I think it could have used a little more too. I didn't use the flour either. I don't know what it was supposed to do, but I didn't think it was too important. Overall the soup was good; it tasted like beefy vegetable soup. It was nice to throw everything in one pot, and at the end of the day have a meal containing meat and veggies!

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