Hearty Beef Stew-Slow Cooker

After making the Enchilada Soup the other day I wanted to use my new pretty slow cooker again so I turned to Cook’s Illustrated.  I have a subscription to their online site and this recipe is from them. There’s also a VERY useful tutorial about how to cut a large piece of meat into small ones. Since I bought a 5lb chuck roast for this it was useful to read before I started in on the cutting. I’ll paste that at the end of the recipe.

This stew was good.  Tasty, heart, meaty.  Since it was the first time I made it I followed the instructions. Next time I’ll put less potatoes and more carrots and peas and perahps some other veggies. I served it over egg noodles.

Hearty Beef Stew-Slow Cooker


  • 5 pounds boneless beef chuck-eye roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (see illustrations below)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped medium
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 pounds Red Bliss potatoes (about 6 medium), scrubbed
  • 5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves


  1. Dry the beef thoroughly with paper towels, then season generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Distribute half of the beef in the skillet and cook, without stirring, until well browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Stir the meat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until completely browned, 4 to 6 minutes longer. Transfer it to a slow cooker. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and heat 2 more teaspoons oil until just smoking. Brown the remaining beef and transfer it to the slow cooker.
  2. Return the skillet to medium heat and heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil until shimmering. Add the onions and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the red wine; turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, scraping the browned bits off the skillet bottom. Pour into the slow cooker.
  3. Stir the chicken broth, 1½ cups of the beef broth, thyme, and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Following the illustrations below, nestle the potatoes and carrots around the edges of the slow cooker. Cover and cook, on either low or high, until the meat is tender, 9 to 10 hours on low or 6 to 7 hours on high.
  4. When the meat is tender, remove the potatoes using a slotted spoon and transfer to a carving board; allow them to cool slightly. Set the slow cooker to high (if necessary). Whisk the flour with the remaining ½ cup beef broth until smooth, then stir into the slow cooker. Quarter the potatoes and return them to the slow cooker. Continue to cook on high until the sauce is thickened and no longer tastes of flour, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Stir in the peas and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving

To keep the potatoes from falling apart during the long cooking time, put them into the slow cooker whole and nestle them around the edges of the cooker, where the heating coils reside. This recipe takes 9 to 10 hours on the slow cooker’s low setting or 6 to 7 hours on its high setting.

From CooksIllustrated.com  Serves 6-8

And here’s their useful meat-cutting info:


Cutting Stew Meat

For stew meat pieces that are cut from the right part of the animal and regularly shaped, we suggest buying a boneless roast and cutting the meat yourself. A 3-pound roast will yield about 2 1/2 pounds of beef, perfect for searing in two batches.

  • 1. Pull apart the roast at its major seams (delineated by lines of fat and silver skin). Use a knife as necessary.
  • 2. With a knife, trim off excess fat and silver skin.
  • 3. Cut the meat into cubes or chunks as directed in specific recipes.

Recipe Testing

Arranging the Vegetables in a Slow Cooker

  • In recipes where the meat is only in the slow cooker for 4 to 5 hours, it is important to arrange the vegetables around the edges of the slow cooker, nearer the heating elements, so that they will cook evenly. Also, this technique is useful in recipes where potatoes are added whole to the stew.

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