Here’s another super easy dinner idea for you! This Hearty Slow Cooker Beef Stew recipe is again, super easy and perfect to make on a Monday. You know, the day of the week where you would do anything to avoid having to cook when you get home. Wouldn’t it be nicer to walk into your house at 6 PM and it smells like delicious beef stew, which is all ready and waiting for you to dig in?
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Hearty Slow Cooker Beef Stew Ingredients
Really basic stew ingredients here: beef stew meat, some veggies, a couple dried spices, and salt and pepper. However, to make the velvety, thick and hearty gravy that envelops the meat and veggies, you don’t add any water or stock. Just a bit of flour and a half can of crushed tomatoes is all you need! I’ll explain why below…
How to Avoid Making Slow Cooker (Crock Pot) Stews Too Watery
As I discussed in my recipe for Smoky Black Bean Soup, I really love soups and stews that are thick, rich and hearty…there’s just something about them that are like a hug in a bowl! In the past though, I’ve had trouble with my crock pot beef stews coming out too watery. So, how to fix this?
First of all, don’t add water or broth! It sounds obvious but it took me some experimenting to figure this out. It seems like if you are making a soup or stew, you need liquid, right? Well, yes and no. You definitely need some liquid. BUT! Vegetables and meat have liquid already in them, right? And if you’re cooking the ingredients all day, some of that liquid is going to release into your dish as you cook. Plus, the lid is on during the entire cooking process, so none of that liquid will escape as steam. So, you need much less liquid than you would think when you’re adding your ingredients into the crock pot.
On the other hand, you need some sort of liquid to get the cooking process going. Enter crushed tomatoes! They add some moisture but are already viscous, so when mixed with the liquid from the meat and vegetables, it forms a delicious thick gravy. And the little bit of extra flour just gives the sauce an extra bit of thickening, so you end up with that beautiful smooth, velvety gravy-like texture.
How to Save More Time on Prep:
Prep for this recipe should only take you about 10 minutes, give or take, depending on how fast you are with chopping veggies. If you want to shave off a few more minutes, here are some things you can do:
- Don’t bother peeling your potatoes, or even your carrots if you don’t feel like it! I usually never bother peeling the potatoes anyways. It adds a nice rustic quality! And carrots do look nicer if you peel them I think, but if you don’t, who cares? It will still taste good (as long as they are washed!).
- If you want to peel your potatoes and carrots, make sure your peeler is doing good work for you. This will save you time and also frustration. As I explained in my post for Maple Butter Glazed Squash and Apples, the OXO Good Grips Pro Y-Peeler is my all-time favorite peeler. It really glides through the food super fast!
- Use your hands to toss the flour and spices with the meat and veggies. Just get right in there. Since it’s important to make sure the flour is evenly distributed and sticks to the ingredients, it is just so much faster and easier to use your hands for this rather than a wooden spoon. Think of your fingers like ten little wooden spoons all working in concert!
I hope this Hearty Slow Cooker Beef Stew recipe can help make a weary Monday evening more enjoyable for you and your family. If you make it please rate the recipe and leave me a comment below!Print
This slow cooker beef stew is easy to make and has a thick, hearty gravy that is perfect for sopping up with crusty bread!
- 1 ½ lb. beef stew meat, cut into cubes
- 1 large (or 2 small) russet potatoes
- 1 large (or 2 small) onions (any type)
- 2 large or 3 small carrots
- 2 ribs celery
- 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
- 2 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried rosemary
- 1 ¾ c. canned crushed tomatoes (½ of a 28 oz. can)
- Peel the potato and carrot if desired. Cut potato, carrot, onion, and celery into 1 inch pieces. Add these to a 6 quart size slow cooker along with the stew meat.
- Sprinkle flour, salt, thyme and pepper over the vegetables and meat. Crush the rosemary between your fingers into smaller pieces and add it to the stew ingredients. Toss to combine, until the flour evenly coats the ingredients and there is very little loose flour settled on the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Pour the crushed tomatoes over the top of the stew ingredients, stir gently to combine.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours (see note). Stir, taste the gravy and add additional salt and pepper if necessary. The gravy will continue to thicken as it cools.
If you have the time, cooking on low for 8 hours yields beef that is a bit more tender, but 4 hours on high will still result in a delicious stew!
Keywords: beef, stew, slow cooker, crock pot