As a working mom in a single parent household, I’m pretty busy. For a long time, I felt like I just didn’t feel like I had time to make food from scratch. But I’ve discovered that with better planning, I CAN make homemade meals for my son and myself. (And for those nights that I just didn’t plan well enough…well, nobody’s perfect! I just have to make due with other options.)
I developed this Busy Person’s Beef Stew Recipe so that I could make homemade beef stew the good old fashioned way–in a slow cooker–but without having to leave the slow cooker on all day while I’m at work. Because to be honest with you, I’ve never felt all that comfortable doing that. With this easy recipe, you’ll make half of it one day, and half the next: the meat is cooked on day 1, and the veggies and broth are prepared on day 2.
This is the first recipe I’ve cooked with my new slow cooker–and it came out great! (In a recent post, I explain why I bought a NESCO Roaster Oven instead of a Rival Crock Pot.)
If the weather’s not chilly outside, don’t worry–beef stew isn’t just for cold weather! It’s a healthy, delicious meal that tastes even better as leftovers as it did the first night you cooked it. Beef stew is high in protein and contains lots of veggies, too. And although stew is considered by many to be comfort food, it can be very low in fat, with the exception of whatever meat it contains. (In other words, the stew can be made with no added fat, at all.)
I have worked with a variety of different cuts of meat to make beef stew, but I prefer some sort of sirloin: a nice, lean sirloin tip roast is good. But I’ve found that roasts can actually be more expensive than thinner cuts, depending on what’s on sale at the local grocery store–so I won’t hesitate to use regular steak to make my beef stew. (Which is exactly what I’ve done with this recipe! Right now, my favorite cut of meat to use for making beef stew is top sirloin steak.)
Here we go. . . .
Easy Beef Stew Ingredients
- 4 lbs sirloin steak
- 3 quarts (12 cups) spring water, plus a few T
- 3 cups baby carrots, peeled
- 5 stalks celery, cut into 2 inch chunks
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 5 russet potatoes, skinned and cubed
- 3/4 cup (or small 187 ml single-serving bottle) red wine
- 3 T hot sauce
- 2 T Better Than Bullion Beef Soup Base
- 10 ounces Hunts tomato paste
- 2 tsp tri-colored pepper, fresh ground
- 1/2 cup flour
Making the Easy Beef Stew
Day 1 COOKING THE MEAT
- Place beef in a 6 or 6.5 quart capacity slow cooker and cover with 3 Quarts (12 cups) spring water. Make sure the meet is fully submersed.
- Cook on high slow cooker temperature (or simply the “slow cook” temperature on a NESCO oven roaster) for 4 hours. Turn off heat and allow to cool fully before covering and refrigerating.
Day 2 COOKING THE VEGGIES AND BROTH
- Using a large slotted spoon, skim fat from the top of the water and discard. (Since the fat is cold, it will be quite easy to remove at this stage.)
- Pour off the broth into the slow cooker cooking well, setting cooked sirloin aside.
- To the broth, stir in the red wine, hot sauce, pepper, and the Better Than Bullion Beef Soup Base.
- Add carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes.
- Cook on high slow cooker setting (or simply the “slow cook” setting on a NESCO roaster oven) for 2 hours. Meanwhile, trim all visible fat from the sirloin steak, then cut meat into bit-sized pieces. Cover and refrigerate the steak, for now.
- After the veggies have been cooking for 2 hours, add tomato paste and stir until well combined.
- To a small bowl, add flour. One T at a time, add water to the flower, stirring briskly until well combined after each addition. Continue adding water, 1 T at a time, stirring well after each addition. (Make sure water is completely integrated each time to avoid lumps.)
- When the flour paste is the texture of watery applesauce, go ahead and stir it into the broth-veggie mixture in the slow cooker, making sure to stir in immediately. Along with the tomato past you added earlier, this paste will thicken up the broth a bit more. (Be careful the paste isn’t too thick when you add it to the broth, or you could end up with little dumplings in your beef stew, rather than a nicely thickened gravy!)
- Place cubed steak gently into the slow cooker for about 1 additional hour. Monitor carefully to make sure the veggies don’t get TOO soft. Since the meat’s already fully cooked at this point, you’re really just warming it up.
- Serve and enjoy! This recipe should yield about 18 cups of delicious beef stew.