Tender, Slow-Cooked Beef Stew

beef stew

Tender and hearty, this slow-cooked beef stew is what I call winter comfort food.

It wasn’t long ago that I was in the land of gingerbread, strudel, and meat and potatoes. When I say meat and potatoes, don’t underestimate the mountain-high amounts here. In Germany, it just seems to be a staple. And while there is a major foodie movement in Germany, its traditional dishes still dominate (thank goodness!)

slow-cooked beef stew

During visits along the glorious Rhine where I took a day-long boat cruise along jaw-dropping castles and medieval towns, many delicious yet heavy meals were consumed. You can only imagine the calorie intake during my later visit to Munich’s Oktoberfest.

Not only was the food amazingly good at Oktoberfest, but the atmosphere was a complete fest for the senses. The tents were full of thousands of people dressed in traditional lederhosen and dirndls, with musicians performing uplifting German folk music. Steins full of beer were guzzled in every direction.

oktoberfest

After visiting the more authentic and family-friendly tents (I loved Hacker, where the locals go), my travel companions and I braced ourselves for the notorious Hofbrauhaus tent. Wild, rowdy and comparable to that Matrix rave scene, it was definitely an…experience. Thousands danced on tables and loudly sang in unison to Oktoberfest’s famous songs. I recommend experiencing this for yourself, but also suggest calling it a night before 9pm to avoid the extremely obliterated passengers on the train ride home (unless that’s your thing, embrace it!)

oktoberfest

One afternoon, I ordered a farmer’s vegetable omelette as an attempt to avoid high amounts of starch after weeks of overindulgence. So when this so-called vegetable omelette arrived at my table full of crisp bacon and potatoes, I giggled to myself. I can’t complain, as it was delicious, but I found myself becoming overly excited during this visit when a menu did feature a green vegetable or salad.

oktoberfest

Although I have since had my share of greens, every now and again an old fashioned meal of meat n’ potatoes hits the spot. And once winter creeps in, comfort food is a must and to me that means a hot bowl of beef stew.

Served over rice or mashed potatoes, this slow-cooked stew is easy to prepare and makes enough for plenty of leftovers. Slow cook for 9 to 10 hours on low and the result will be tender, melt in your mouth beef.

If you don’t already have a slow-cooker, I HIGHLY recommended investing in one. There are a variety of great, inexpensive slow-cookers available. My advice, purchase a large sized one with a built-in timer, this way you can prepare the slow cooker in the morning, and come home to a hot meal without worrying about returning in time to shut it off.

A slow cooker is a great cooking tool. You can put an inexpensive cut of meat in it and after hours of simmering, the result is a meal that is both tender and full of flavour.

 Tender, Slow-Cooked Beef Stew

Prep Time: 15 minutes    Cook Time: 9-10 hours    Yields: 8 – 10 large servings    Author: Milk & Marigolds

Ingredients:
3.5 pounds of stewing beef
6 rashers of g-free bacon, roughly chopped
2 large onions, diced
4 stalks of celery, chopped
4 carrots, chopped once in half
1 large parsnip, chopped once in half
5 cloves of garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
Fresh Ground pepper to taste
½ teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper
2 g-free beef stock cubes
2 cups of water
3 teaspoons of g-free Worcestershire sauce
Plenty of mashed potatoes or rice as a side.

Directions:

1.) Prepare by chopping the celery, carrots and parsnip. Dice the onions and mince the garlic. Chop the bacon and use a towel to blot the stewing beef dry. Set aside.

2.) In a large frying pan. Cook the bacon until nearly crisp. Place bacon into the slow cooker. Use the bacon oil to sauté the onion and celery. Once the onions start to become clear in appearance, add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Do not brown the garlic. Add the garlic, celery and onions to the slow-cooker.

3.) Add the blotted stewing beef to the pan and sauté until all sides are lightly browned. This helps to lock in the flavour and juices. Add to the slow-cooker.

4.) Add all the remaining ingredients to the slow-cooker except for the Worcestershire sauce. This can be added a 30 minutes before it is ready. Cook at the low setting.

5.) Serve with mashed potatoes or rice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Milk & Marigolds says…

To speed up cooking time, begin by cooking the stew on a high setting for 2 hours and then reduce to low for 4 hours. (Although cooking it consistently for 9 to 10 hours gives you the most tender result.) Avoid adding dairy to your mashed potatoes by substituting with stock instead.

Copyright © 2014. Milk & Marigolds

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