Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Rustic Chive Biscuits

So I've finally come to accept that I won't be tanning in my backyard for a while now (I was really counting on one more Indian-Summer-like day), so this means it's time to indulge in the best that Fall has to offer. My absolute favourite thing about Fall is bringing out the comfort food. In my mind, one of the only positives of cold weather is using it as an excuse to indulge in warm and comforting meals. One of my favourite comfort foods is beef stew. My mom has been making beef stew for years, and it's always right around this time that I begin craving that thick sauce, tender and flavourful beef, and abundance of hearty vegetables. Although my moms beef stew is outstanding, we recently purchased a slow cooker and have been experimenting with all of our classics, trying them out in our new toy. So we decided to find the most basic recipe we could and see how it did in the cooker so we could compare my moms classic stovetop recipe with the basic slow cooker recipe. We also decided that any good stew needs a good dipper to soak up all those leftover delicious juices. So I quickly whipped up some Rustic Chive Biscuits.

The stew tasted delicious although it didn't even compare to my moms classic. After finishing numerous helpings of the stew, we realized that using the slow cooker method eliminated one very important step. One of the biggest flavour boosters in making a stew is browning your meat before adding in the liquids. In a slow cooker you are unable to do this. Although the slow cooker beef stew wasn't as spectacular as my moms classic beef stew, it was still absolutely delicious and is extremely convenient for people who are unable to nurse a pot on a stove all day long. With a slow cooker you can literally throw everything into the pot, and forget about it for the rest of the day, and hours later you have a delicious, tender, warm, and hearty meal ready to be served! My Rustic Chive Biscuits were the perfect accompaniment to the stew. Crisp on the outside, and steaming hot, soft, and buttery on the inside with chive confetti throughout. Who needs a spoon when you can use biscuits?!

Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 pounds beef stew meat
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 1/2 onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups beef broth
4 potatoes, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 cups mushrooms
1/2 cup frozen peas

1. In a large ziplock bag, mix together the flour, paprika, salt, and pepper. Add the stewing beef and shake to coat.

2. In a large, heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the stewing beef in batches, and brown on all sides. Remove and place in slow cooker. Add the red wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Scrape the bits at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the remains into the slow cooker as well.

3. In the bowl of the slow cooker, stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, onions, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and the remaining flour mixture in the bag.

4. Cover and cook on low setting for 10-12 hours, or on high setting for 4-6 hours. Add frozen peas within the last 1/2 hour of cooking.

Rustic Chive Biscuits
2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp cold butter
2 tbsp cold shortening
1 cup buttermilk, chilled
1-2 tbsp chives, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 450ยบ. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

2. Using fingertips, rub the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine crumbs (work quickly so the fats do not melt).

3. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in the chilled buttermilk and chives. Stir just until the dough comes together/ The dough should be very sticky at this point.

4. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface. Dust the top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times.

5. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Using a sharp knife cut dough into very rough square-or-rectangle-like shapes about 2-3 inches in diameter. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch.

6. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until biscuits have risen and are golden on top.

Listening To:
Dolly Parton - Jolene

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Diana Mieczan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diana Mieczan said...

Perfect comfort food for those cold afternoons:)
Happy Tuesday my dear

Gabby said...

Looks delish! I use my slow cooker all the time, but I ALWAYS brown my meat quickly first and then put it in the slow cooker...try that! A lot of people recommend doing that :)

jane deere said...

Thanks for the recipe...it looks wonderful! I love comfort foods in the fall and winter.

Hulkshare Music said...

It looks yummy...