Hearty Beef & Veggie Stew
This easy and warming recipe is a favorite at our house, adapted from a delicious recipe from my mother-in-law. You throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker and just sit back and enjoy the yummy stew smells for the rest of the day. The only difficulty is remembering to start the stew early enough so you’re not eating dinner at 9 PM! You can also cook it in a 6-quart oven-proof baking dish with a lid (stone works best) and cook for 6-8 hours at 250° F or so instead of using a slow cooker.
2 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour
Ghee (clarified butter), for frying meat
1 pound beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
5-10 Baby Bella (also called crimini) mushrooms
1/2 of a small white or sweet onion
2 1/2 cups peeled, cubed potatoes (can substitute with cauliflower, fresh or frozen)
1 cup frozen green beans, pre-cut into small pieces
1 cup frozen corn
2 1/2 cups tomato or tomato-vegetable juice
2 1/2 cups beef broth (low sodium)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
Cut up your stew beef (if needed), mushrooms, onion, and potatoes (if using). Place stew beef in large bowl with 2 Tblsp. of flour; toss gently to coat all the pieces. Meanwhile, pour enough ghee into your skillet to coat the bottom, and heat on medium-low heat. (Watch out! never leave hot oils unattended or in reach of children, and don't set the heat so high that the oil "pops" and burns you.) Pour the floured stew meat into the oil. Cook over medium heat (gently bubbling) for 5-6 minutes, until most of the red has cooked out of the meat, but not all. Remove from heat.
In your pressure cooker or slow-cooker, layer the potatoes (or cauliflower), green beans, corn, and onions. Transfer the meat from your skillet to the pot. Pour the liquids over the veggies and meat: beef broth, vegetable juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Add the seasonings and portabello mushrooms. Set your cooker to high for the first 2 hours; then turn down to low and continue to cook, 4 more hours (for pressure cookers) or 6 hours (for slow cookers). You can leave it on high the entire time and it will get done faster; however the meat will not be as tender as with the slower-cooking method. The stew is done when the meat is very tender and falling apart when you poke it with a fork.
We like to serve any hearty stew like this with a yummy bread or muffins! Our favorite cornbread muffin recipe (from bakingbites.com) is quick and easy to make, plus it uses honey instead of sugar. You could also serve this in bread bowls.