Dreamy's Delights

It's all about the food!

Stupid(ly easy) Stew

on July 9, 2012

I’m cooking in the crockpot today. I have a nice big one, 6 qts so it’s perfect for a large batch of stew. Last night I asked Jene to bring me home some dead animal, which he did since he’s an amazing husband. When asked what he brought me the conversation went something like this:

Me “What kind of dead animal did you bring me?”

Him: “Steak.”

Me: “What kind of steak? Ribeyes?”

Him: “I dunno, just steak, whatever they had.”

Now, if you know anything about steak you know there are LOTS of different kinds of steak lol. Turns out he brought me chuck steak. Chuck has really good flavor but it tends to be tough and does best with a long slow cook. It’s frequently sold as a roast and makes really good pot roast. So these steaks weren’t going to go on the grill. Thus enter the crockpot!

This is a slacker’s stew… a stew that anyone can make… a stew that takes ten minutes or less to put together.


Chuck steak, cut into roughly 1″ cubes (I used about 4.5 lbs because that’s what was in the package, you can use less or more depending on how big a batch you want to make. For a serious slacker, buy the pre-cut “stew” beef at the store.)

Pancetta diced and fried to cook off some of the fat. drain on paper towels. (If you don’t have pancetta, use bacon it will just taste smokier. I can buy pancetta already diced at Trader Joe’s so I just opened the package and dumped it in the skillet lol. It was a 4oz package but you can use more/less.)

Celery, 2-3 cups chopped. (I can’t tell you exactly how much because I grab a whole celery and instead of pulling the ribs off I trim the top, rinse it and start chopping. This lets me chop without the ribs rolling around on the cutting board. I would guess I used half a stalk of celery because that’s about what I had. I’d have used more but I didn’t have any more. I LOVE celery in my stews and soups.)

2 cans of Campbells condensed French Onion Soup

1/2 bottle of red wine

Dried Thyme about 2-3 tsp

Salt & Pepper (I think I put in about 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper)

Garlic Powder

Sliced mushrooms (see note)

Other veggies (today I’m gonna toss in some cabbage, squash and asparagus)

Pretty much dump everything, except the mushrooms and quick cooking veggies, in the pot. Turn the crockpot ON. This is very important, otherwise your food doesn’t cook. (I was writing this when I remembered that key step.) Give it a stir, stick the lid on and ignore it for a few hours. The amount of time to ignore it depends on if you’re using low or high heat. Low heat is probably 7-8 hours, high heat is probably 4-5 hours. You want the meat to smoosh apart if you smash it against the side of the pot with a spoon. Once the meat has reached this stage add your quick cooking veggies.

Some notes on ingredients…

In an ideal world the beef should be browned in a hot pan before adding it to the pot. Some times I actually do this. Today I didn’t. If you choose to do so, use either a good olive oil or bacon fat. I use bacon fat because fat is flavor! For that same reason, don’t trim all the fat off the beef. You want that flavor.

I use the canned soup for a couple of reasons… the onions are already sliced and it adds a nice extra touch of beefy flavor. I know, I know, processed foods are evil. But I don’t use them very often and sometimes it’s worth it. I know that saving five minutes of time not chopping up onions isn’t always necessary but today the MS is giving me fits so the easy route it is! If I’d had dried celery on hand I’d have used that too lol. A substitution for the soup is to thinly slice an large onion and caramelize it in a skillet with some butter. Doing that properly takes 30-45 minutes. Thus the short cut.)

The wine doesn’t need to be super high end but at least something you’d be willing to drink. I spend about $5/bottle for my cooking wine. I’ve been known to use $20/bottle wine if that’s all I have. Honestly, I’d rather use wine in the food than drink it most days 😀

Add the mushrooms when you’re about 1.5 hours from serving the stew. If you add them at the beginning they cook into mush and you can’t tell they’re in there lol.

Other veggies… you can add other stuff to your stew. If you’re using potatoes and carrots or other root veggies put them in at the beginning. (We’re trying to be low carb so no taters or carrots for us!) Delicate veggies such as mushrooms, asparagus, and squash should go in towards the end to prevent them being seriously over cooked. Who likes mushy squash??

Garlic powder: again, this is a time saver for me. I usually have fresh garlic on hand but today I wasn’t up to cleaning it. Put in garlic powder according to how much you love garlic. I probably used about 2 tsp. I’m bad about not measuring. I just pour some in until it looks good. This blog is forcing me to actually think about how much of an ingredient I use… oy! Another short cut is to buy pre-peeled garlic. I usually have some but I ran out *eye roll* And yes, I really do have three (or more) types of garlic in the house.

Thyme: I like the way thyme tastes with beef. However, you can season this however you want. Fresh rosemary would be a nice addition.( I can’t eat the stuff so I never use it.) Get creative with your seasonings 🙂

Another thought… if you’re going to use quick cooking veggies, make sure you leave room in the pot for them! I just added the mushrooms, about 1/2 a head of green cabbage, a pound of asparagus and 4 grey squash. It was a tight fit. 😉 Once you get those last veggies in cook the stew for another 30-45 minutes. The veggies should be tender but not over cooked.

Ta-dah! You have made dinner! If you have a big crock pot and a small family you’ve probably made dinner for the rest of the week too.

For one final flourish you can sprinkle a bit of Parmesan on top of each bowl of stew.





3 responses to “Stupid(ly easy) Stew

  1. Tane Marie McKee, DVM says:

    Sounds uber yummie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Side note: Do ya’ll know about Spark People? Yes, I spent 5 years in Kris’s home state….what was that??? Kansas or confusion???? Kidding….. I can say Ya’ll with a drawl if I darn well want to. Anyhoo……Spark People is another website that does Low Cal Recipes. Check it out……XXXXXXXXXXXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  2. Tane Marie McKee, DVM says:

    Tane’s Version: I used 1.5 # Ribeye. Cooked on the grill for about 1 hour on low, then cut into bite sized pieces. I could not find the cream of onion soup, so I used Shroom soup. 2 Cans of water and 1/2 of bottle of a red wine that was gifted, that I really did not like. TMI????? I added sea salt and black pepper to taste and 2 ounces of creme fromage. 2 medium sized turnips and 2 medium red taters. I sauted 1 decent sized onion, 1 c of celery, 1 cup carrot, and 1 small package of mushrooms, 1 cup of cabbage and about 8 small garlic cloves. All ingredients went for a 10 hour dunk in the crock. This is a rich wintery stew that I made in August….Oh well. Very similar to Beed Burgandy….

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