There is nothing like coming home to a warm bowl of beef stew on a chilly night. Packed with vegetables, tender beef, and a flavorful broth, this crockpot beef stew pretty much makes itself while you are off doing other things. A few minutes of prep time in the morning is all you need, and seven or eight hours later, your dinner is ready and waiting.
I have used this recipe for many years, and it has been a staple for us when we need something very warming and nourishing. It’s especially good after a day or evening of being out in the cold. And in Michigan in April, especially this April, we still have plenty of cold. Crockpot meals are so great for evenings when my kids have track meets and/or soccer games. That way, when we come home hungry and chilled to the bone, there is something hot and steaming ready to ladle into waiting bowls.
What a good feeling to have dinner already figured out in the morning! Besides the fact that this stew is delicious, it takes the stress out of trying to figure out what to make for dinner at the last minute. And it is very basic, which means it is easy to prepare. This last time, I even bought stew beef that was already cut into chunks, which made the prep work even quicker. Just some chopping of the onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes, browning of the meat, the adding of some tomatoes and broth, herbs and flavorings, and that’s about it!
Because this crockpot beef stew is so classic and basic, it allows for lots of room for variation. We had this stew for leftovers the next night, and I made some parmesan scones to go with it. Delicious! (The recipe for those will be on the blog soon.) And another variation I would recommend is adding some roasted vegetables if you have them. Because my daughter is vegetarian, she doesn’t eat this stew. So I roasted some sweet potatoes, onions, mushrooms, and garlic for her the other night. My husband put some of those roasted vegetables in with the stew, and it was even more flavorful! Another variation is to use ground beef, and a different ratio of vegetables and flavorings, as I did in a post for vegetable and beef soup from a couple years ago.
For me, this crockpot beef stew dinner hits the balance between easy and wholesome, nourishing, and delicious. Perfect for a busy day and hungry people.
Speaking of busy days, we got away from the packed schedule for a few days last week. The kids were on spring break, so we took a road trip to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. I loved that area so much! We stayed in a cabin on an organic farm near Townsend, Tennessee, known as “the peaceful side of the Smokies”. It was indeed peaceful, and the views outside our cabin and in the nearby national park were incredible, from the stunning mountains to the bubbling river to the rushing waterfalls. The cabin even had a hot tub on the porch, so we could sit in the hot tub and look at the trees, mountains, and stars. It was so great to be surrounded by all that natural beauty. It was also so nice to feel the warm sun and see some wildflowers and flowering trees. I hope to go back to that area again and explore more.
Now we are home and back into the busy life. But it’s mostly good stuff that is filling the schedule these days, so I am mostly grateful.
A couple of weeks ago, I was at an orchid festival at a conservatory near here. In the gift shop, I saw a sign that caught my eye:
“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” ~Hal Borland
Those of you who live in the Midwest and northeast of this country, hold onto that thought! 🙂 And if you need to warm up, try this lovely crockpot beef stew. I hope you all have a great weekend! I’m taking a bowl of this over to Angie’s virtual potluck Fiesta Friday, hosted this week by Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.
Cozy Crockpot Beef Stew
- 1 and 1/2 pounds of stew beef, cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of onion, chopped
- 3-4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 ribs of celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 4 medium potatoes (red or Yukon gold), washed and cubed
- a 12-ounce can of tomatoes, undrained
- 1 and 1/4 cup of beef broth (I like to use 1 and 1/4 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of Better than Bouillon beef base)
- 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon of dried parsley
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 teaspoon of garlic salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 cup of warm water
- 2 tablespoons of flour
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the meat cubes over medium heat until browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to the crockpot. Add the next 11 ingredients (all except the cup of water and 2 tablespoons of flour). Cook in your crockpot on low heat for 7-8 hours, or until the vegetables are tender. About 15 minutes before you are ready to serve, stir the flour into a cup with the warm water until the flour mostly dissolves. Pour that mixture into the crockpot to thicken the broth. After the flour has settled into the stew, ladle the stew into big bowls. Serve with bread, crackers and cheese, or a salad if desired. Enjoy!