When the weather is blustery, there is nothing like Slow Cooker Beef Vegetable Stew. Throw everything together at lunchtime and it cooks while you are busy in the afternoon. Although the recipe calls for cooking the stew for 4-6 hours at high, you could also set the slow cooker for 8 -10 hours on low. Note that slow cooker settings by brand and the size of the slow cooker also makes a difference. Therefore, I’ve provided the cooking time in ranges.
The hearty flavor always draws me in. As long as I have a baguette or sourdough bread to soak up the broth and a glass of wine on the side, I’m a happy camper.
Long simmered stews made the old fashioned way (on the stovetop or in the oven) are lovely. But you can get the same layered effect in a slow cooker version if you use a wide variety of vegetables, sear the beef before slow cooking it, and use herbs to amp up the flavor.
I used fresh herbs in this Slow Cooker Beef Vegetable Stew – rosemary and thyme – because I happened to have them. If you don’t, that’s fine. Simply smell your dried herbs before you use them to make sure they are still fresh. No sense putting them into the stew if they are so old that they’ve lost their beautiful scent. The herbs really do take the wine, tomato, and beef broth up a notch, but only if they are fragrant.
Speaking of dried herbs and spices, when was the last time you checked to see how fresh yours are? If you’re like me, you buy them and then the months and years slip by. I’ve taken to refilling my containers with smaller amounts that I buy from a store that sells them in bulk. They’re cheaper in bulk (without packaging) and I don’t waste as much if I have to throw away some that have lingered in my pantry so long that they have lost their “zip.”
There are a number of ingredients in this stew.
But don’t let the number of items put you off. Slow Cooker Beef Vegetable Stew is simple to prepare and the vegetables listed are not the only ones that would work. Whether you lack one of the specified vegetables or have others you want to use, this stew works. I prepared this in my “plain old” slow cooker. If you have an Instant Pot, even better because then you don’t have to dirty a second pan to sear the beef cubes and cook the onions.
Slow Cooker Beef Vegetable Stew
A hearty and flavorful way to combine beef and vegetables into a one-pot wonder - with wine.
- 1/4 cup Flour
- 1 tsp Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp Dried mustard
- 2 - 2 1/2 pounds Stew beef cut into cubes about 1 1/2-inches
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 cups Chopped onions About 1/2 pound
- 3 cups Beef broth, divided
- 2 cups Carrot chunks About 10 ounces
- 2 cups Turnip chunks About 10 ounces
- 2 cups Potato chunks
- 8+ ounces Mushrooms, halved or quartered I prefer portabella, but white button mushrooms are fine too.
- 2 tablespoons Tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups Red wine I'm not a wine snob, so I just grab whatever full bodied red I like to drink
- 1 tablespoon Fresh rosemary About 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon Fresh thyme About 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 Bay leaves
Put flour, salt, pepper, and dried mustard into a gallon plastic bag or a bowl and add the beef. Toss the beef cubes all around to coat them thoroughly.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet. Sear half of the beef cubes on all sides under a medium-high heat. When they are done, set them aside and do the same with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the second half of the beef cubes. When you are done, leave the drippings in the skillet for the onions.
Cook the onions in the skillet for about 3-5 minutes, until they begin to become transparent. Add any remaining flour from the ziploc bag that did not adhere to the beef cubes and toss it into the onions for another 1-2 minutes. Remove the onions and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add 1/2 cup of the beef broth to the skillet and gently stir up the crusty bits at the bottom of the pan. (That's called "deglazing." The flavorful bits will make the sauce richer and more wonderful than it would be if you left them out.) Turn off the heat and pour whatever comes out with a spatula or wooden spoon over the onions in the slow cooker.
Add the carrots, turnips, potatoes, mushrooms, and herbs. Cover the vegetables with the beef chunks. Add the tomato paste to the remaining broth, then add the paste-fortified broth and the wine to the slow cooker.
Close the slow cooker and cook on high for 4-6 hours.
If you are going to work in the morning and returning for dinner, switch the heat level to low and cook it for 8-10 hours.