Days and nights are chilly somewhere in the world at any time of the year. As I update this recipe, it’s almost winter in the southern hemisphere. Here at home, it doesn’t matter if it’s summer or monsoon season — when we crave stew, I cook stew and we enjoy it to the hilt.
Now, about this beef stew. The ingredients list and cooking procedure are rather long but that doesn’t mean that this is a difficult recipe. The cooking is more than a little involved, yes, but that’s how to cook a delicious stew.
Although it says slow cooker in the recipe title, that’s just the last part of the cooking. The beef is browned on the stove top to give it the best flavor and texture. Bacon and chorizo are browned on the stovetop as well until they render fat. Then, in the rendered fat, onion, garlic, bell pepper, thyme and oregano are sauteed.
All the meat and the sauteed vegetables go into the slow cooker. Seasonings are added, diced tomatoes are poured in and the slow cooking begins. When to add the carrot and potato wedges depends on whether you opt to fry them or not.
When adding starchy vegetables to a meat stew, the most common way is to just dump them into the pot with the meat and let everything stew together. I don’t. Vegetables cook faster than meat, I loathe overcooked vegetables, so I add them during the last stage of cooking.
I also find that frying starchy vegetables like potatoes and carrots before adding them to the gives them better flavor and texture. It’s optional but if do fry them, you don’t need to cook them all the way through. Just fry at a high temperature until the edges are lightly browned. Then, set the aside until it’s time for them to go into the slow cooker.
Slow cooker beef stew
- 1 kilogram beef short ribs
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup butter
- 100 grams belly bacon chopped
- 100 grams Spanish chorizo (the ones flavored with lots of paprika are ideal) cut into thin rings
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 bell pepper finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 1 12 to 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into wedges (optionally, fried until lightly browned)
- 1 medium carrot peeled and cut into wedges (optionally, fried until lightly browned)
- whole black olives as much as you like
- snipped parsley to garnish
- Cut the short ribs between the bones into two-inch cubes and place in a bowl.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the flour and toss to coat each piece; shake off the excess.
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan.
- Brown the meat well. Scoop out and drain.
- Heat another frying pan.
- Dump the bacon and chorizo and cook until browned and a generous amount of fat has been rendered.
- Scoop out the browned bacon and chorizo.
- Reheat the rendered fat and saute the onion, garlic, bell pepper, thyme and oregano.
- Line the slow cooker with the sauteed aromatics and the fat in which they were cooked.
- Place the browned beef short ribs on top followed by the bacon and chorizo.
- Pour in the diced tomatoes.
- Add a teaspoonful of salt and about a quarter teaspoon of pepper.
- Throw in the bay leaf.
- Turn on the slow cooker (I like to start at HIGH for two hours then switch to LOW for another four hours or so).
- After the beef stew has been cooking for four hours, taste the sauce. Add more salt and pepper, as needed.
- If you did not fry them, add the potato and carrot wedges and olives to the meat, and stir lightly. If you had fried the potato and carrot wedges, add them during the last hour of cooking.
- When the stew is done, taste the sauce one last time and adjust the seasonings again, if needed.
- Sprinkle the stew with parsley before serving hot with rice or crusty bread.