Tuesday, December 30, 2008
slow cooker stout stew
I love making stews and soups in the winter. At least once a week I have a big pot of something in the slow cooker. Not only it is great for a warming meal on cold days, but also makes lunch for a few days as well!
With stews and soups I am pretty much a 'whatever you have got, throw it in the pot' kind of person. Sure, I match spices and flavors with ingredients, but if you start with the best tasting freshest produce and meat, it all tastes good. I plan meals in the slow cooker based on what we have dried/frozen/preserved from the summer. I love looking through the freezer and pulling out bags of brightly colored veggies - the flavor still so great and intense since it was frozen straight from the garden at its peak. Nothing like it.
My husband had gotten a bottle of Irish Caramel Cream for Christmas and I immediately made a cake with it (recipe soon!). That reminded me of another favorite irish beverage - Guiness - so I had to make my version of a Guiness Irish Stew. I used Guiness for this stew, but any dark stout would be great! I used fresh stock and stewed tomatoes from the freezer, but you can easily substitute canned...
::slow cooker stout stew::
1 lb. stew meat, cut into 1" cubes
2 med. yellow onions, chopped
5 med. carrots, sliced
5 med. potatoes, cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 cups fresh stock (I used home made duck stock - beef or chicken would be good too)
2 cups stewed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin
pint of stout (guiness, yum)
freshly ground pepper
handful fresh parsley
In a skillet on med-hi, put onions, garlic, and a little coconut oil. Cook until turning translucent. Put into crockpot/slow cooker.
Add a little more coconut oil - add the beef, cooking until brown on the outside. Add the stout to the beef in the skillet, bring to a bubble, pour it all into the crock pot (turned to high). You want all the meat juices and bits on the pan, and this gets that all incorporated so you don't waste a bit!
Add the carrots and potatoes to the crock pot. Add (hot) stock and stewed tomatoes as well as bay leaf and cumin. I like to season with some salt & pepper to start with, but then finish it to taste after it cooks a few hours.
Cook on high for 1 hour, then reduce to low and let cook from 3 hours up to 8 hours. The longer it cooks the richer and darker it becomes. In the last 30 minutes or so, chop up a handful of fresh parsley and stir in to mix.
When meat is involved I add most ingredients to the slow cooker either hot or at room temperature. It gets the meat up to temp faster (safer).
With soups and stews I have a range of stock/broth because it all depends on how big your potatoes and carrots are, etc. So just be sure to add enough stock to just cover everything in your crock pot!