Monday, November 8, 2010

Slow-Cooked Beef and Fresh Veggie Stew

A slow-cooked stew packed with fresh veggies is a great reason to get out the crockpot!

On Saturday we let this yummy stew slowcook all day, and simply added some wholegrain dinner rolls for a great family meal. I decided to keep the ingredients as fresh as possible and simple. Here's my recipe. You'll need your large (at least 6-quart) crockpot.

3 cups fresh stew meat, cubed and browned
fresh baby carrots, about 2 to 4 cups (your taste)
7 or 8 fresh potatoes, peeled and rough chopped
about 2 cups freshly washed and cut greenbeans
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (optional)
2 pint jars of canned tomatoes, chopped up (or 2 14-oz. cans stewed tomatoes if you can't get your hands on tomatoes canned in glass jars)
32 ounces beef broth
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the stew meat, drain any fat, and add to the crockpot along with the other vegetables, canned tomatoes and thyme. Pour the beef broth in, stir, and salt and pepper to taste. Let it cook on low for 5 to 7 hours and it will be bubbly and delicious. I have to say, this is one of the dishes that really makes it worthwhile to can your own garden or farmers' market tomatoes (when you're ready, check my blog for my canned tomato recipe). There is something about the sweet, fresh flavor of the tomatoes in a jar that makes the broth of this stew taste amazing. Using fresh vegetables makes it worthy of company!

I think next time I might have to break out my "Baking with Julia" cookbook and make some fabulous homemade bread to go with this wonderful stew. But, I was all about making life easy this weekend and had purchased some nice, fresh wholegrain dinner rolls when I did my shopping. Stew has quite a food history to go along with it (I love food history). People have survived on it for hundreds of years in many different ways--in the cold winters, stew helped make the most of the cellar's root vegetable supply. And of course, the Irish are famous for their stew. I felt a little food fame when I made this!

Really, there's nothing better than putting a meal together in the crockpot, and enjoying your day, knowing that dinner will be ready when you are! Eat happy!

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