Slow Cooker Summer Beef Stew
My husband and I have been together for 6 years, and I have apparently never made him beef stew in all those years. He used to eat it growing up, and he likes it, so I’m not sure why I’ve never made it. I’ve made beef stroganoff approximately 1,000 times, so you’d think I’d mix it up a bit!
But then a couple of weeks ago, my toddler stayed overnight at Oma’s, and she made beef stew. She said he ate a ton of it. So, if it’s a meal he’s willing to eat (although he eats most everything at this point), and it’s pretty healthy (hello, vegetable overload) and my husband will love it, it seems like a no brainer to make it at our house.
Beef Stew – the Summer Edition
A typical beef stew has potatoes and onions and carrots in it. But I wanted to mix it up, because we’re getting a ton of great produce from my dad’s garden and from the farmer’s markets right now. And the more veggies I can stuff into a meal for my toddler, the happier this mama is.
So I loaded this beef stew with zucchini, tomatoes, snap peas, and carrots, and I would have added broccoli and corn if I’d had any. Basically, you can add whatever vegetables you’ve got in season (and if you don’t have access to a farmer’s market, Aldi has all of these at great prices! That’s where our mushrooms and potatoes came from.).
Making the Summer Beef Stew
Since this is a slow cooker meal (hallelujah for not heating up the house!), it’s quick and easy to put together, and then you can just let it cook all day.
First things first: wash your veggies well. Then chop your veggies (and your meat if needed) into 1 inch chunks. I bought my beef packaged as stew meat, so it was already chopped, but you can certainly buy a hunk of beef and cut it yourself.
Then, either line your cooker with a liner bag or spray it lightly with cooking spray. These options just help make cleanup a lot easier. I like the liner bags because I can just toss them when I’m done, but spraying the slow cooker works just as well!
Dump your meat and veggies into the slow cooker. Drizzle the Worcestershire sauce over the top of everything.
In a small bowl, measure out all of your spices: roasted garlic powder (see notes), salt, pepper, allspice, thyme, smoked paprika, and crushed bay leaves. Combine well, then sprinkle over the top of the meat and vegetables in the slow cooker. Use a large spoon to mix everything together and coat with spices.
Cover the slow cooker with the lid and set it on low for 6-8 hours. You can also cook it on high for about 4 hours, but the meat may not be as fall-apart-tender if you cook it completely on high.
Thickening the Summer Beef Stew
When your stew is about 30 minutes from being done, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of broth and 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour until smooth (you don’t want lumps!). Pour it into the slow cooker and stir gently with a large spoon. Return the lid to the slow cooker and let your summer beef stew continue cooking.
If it’s not thick enough after 30 minutes, you can remove some of the liquid, stir and cook for another 15 minutes, but I’ve never had an issue!
Optional: Searing the Beef Before Slow Cooking
If you want to take the flavor of your stew up a few notches, sear your beef before slow cooking! After cubing your meat, season with salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of oil to a skillet and heat over medium. Add your beef when hot and sear for just a couple of minutes; long enough for the beef to get a good crust on it!
This is going to add depth and flavor to your stew beyond compare! I just didn’t do it, because my 18 month old still only has 10 teeth, so he needed the meat to be very tender in order for him to be able to eat it. Otherwise, I would absolutely sear the beef first!
- I don’t have roasted garlic powder. Can I use regular garlic powder? Absolutely. It just won’t have that roasted taste to it, but it will work in a pinch!
- I don’t have smoked paprika. Can I use regular paprika? Sure, but I really recommend investing in smoked paprika. That smoked component turns regular recipes into smoky dreaminess, and I use it alllll the time!
When you make this Summer Beef Stew, make sure to post a photo on Instagram and tag me (@biscuitsandgrading)! Can’t wait to see it!
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A hearty, thick stew chock-full of in-season summer vegetables and tender chunks of beef
- 1 lb. beef stew meat, cut into chunks
- 4 red potatoes
- 1 zucchini
- 4 oz baby portabella or white mushrooms
- 3 large carrots, peeled
- 2 c. snap peas
- 2 medium beefsteak tomatoes; or 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp roasted garlic powder
- 1 tsp. crushed bay leaves
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. allspice
- 2 1/2 c. beef or chicken broth
- 1/4 c. all-purpose flour, unbleached
Wash and dice all your vegetables into 1 inch chunks.
Line your slow cooker with a liner bag or spray lightly with cooking spray (optional; helps with cleanup).
Add meat and vegetables to the crockpot. Stir to mix and combine.
In a small bowl, measure salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, bay leaves, thyme and allspice. Mix thoroughly.
Drizzle Worcestershire over the top of the meat and veggies. Sprinkle seasoning over top and stir to combine. Pour 2 cups of broth on top.
Cover with lid and cook 6-8 hours on low (or 4 hours on high).
After 6 hours or so, whisk together remaining 1/2 c. broth and 1/4 cup flour until smooth. Add to slow cooker and stir gently.
Cook at least 30 more minutes or until the stew has thickened to your liking.
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