Monday, 23 January 2012

Crockpot Beef Stew

In the middle of today's craziness and chaos, I had a moment of pure delight. Well, several if you count the every day miracle that is the perfect love of a child multiplied by four. I was lucky to have one of those precious moments with each of my children today. Now, this was balanced by a level of general insanity that movies like "Cheaper by the Dozen" and "Yours, Mine and Ours" can only attempt to rival. Let's just say, thank God the markers were washable, the clothes changeable, and the boo boos kissable.

Back to my moment of pure delight. This was the kind that had nothing to do with the kids, yet anyway. They were calmly playing for the moment so I went off to the kitchen to get a start on supper. Thanks to my trusty crockpot I knew 20 minutes of prep could make for a delicious supper that I didn't need to worry about burning while I attended to the needs of my 4 little ones. I had some beef that we'd picked up at the Seaport Market on Saturday. It was stew cut beef from sustainably raised, exclusively grass-fed cows, beautifully aged and expertly butchered by a real Butcher (baby girl's Godfather as it happens) that we purchased at Getaway Meat Mongers. Soooo good. Besides that we had picked up some vegetables from the Noggins Farm stall at the Market, namely potatoes, rainbow carrots, cremini mushrooms, and leeks. As soon as I saw the stew beef I knew I had to make a classic recipe from my Mom's cookbook: Beef Stew (or Beef Ragout). I made a few tweeks to her recipe but overall this is her version of the hearty classic. As I type this the smell of the rich spices and fresh produce are wafting through our house, covering up nicely the pile of wet diapers hiding in our livingroom. Here's the recipe!

1lb stew beef
6-8 cubed medium potatoes
6-8 rainbow carrots cut in discs
3 chopped leeks (green and white parts)
1lb sliced cremini mushrooms
2 28oz cans diced tomatoes
4 cups beef broth
2 bay leaves (remember to remove before serving!)
2 cloves crushed and minced garlic
1/2 tsp pepper
2 T Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp allspice
4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Combine everything but the meat in your crockpot. In a large pan put 1T olive oil on medium heat. Dredge your stew beef in flour. Shake off excess flour and brown all sides of your meat. This will seal in the juices and therefore your flavour! You will be able to tell your pan is ready by dropping a pinch of flour in. If the flour bubbles and cooks it's ready for your meat. Once your meat is browned, add it to the other incredients in your crock. Take a spatula and get all the juices from the bottom of your pan and put them in the crockpot too. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-7 hours. This is one that you can refridgerate and cook again on low for another 4-6 hours the next day. The sauce will reduce and get more rich!

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