Tuesday, November 13, 2012
As the temperature gets lower, this Hearty Beef Stew is one of my “go-to” comfort food to make. It’s a tried-and-true recipe that I can guaranteed you’ll love. I used to make this recipe on the stove top with an Dutch Oven. Part of it is because I love browning my meat to develop the depth of flavor before cooking it low and slow to tenderize the stew. But the main reason being that I didn’t have a slow cooker (yeah, I know I know, I couldn’t believe it either), until a month ago.
My In-Laws gave me a Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System that they received from a friend. My In-Laws knew I’m going to put it to good use so they passed The Ninja onto me (thank you!) After the very first try, I already love this machine! First thing first, I make this recipe in large quantity that is good for at least 8 to 10 servings so that I’ll have plenty leftovers to enjoy the very next day. This Ninja is perfect because it has a 6 quart capacity that is sufficient for this recipe. Remember I mentioned I love to brown my meat before slow cooking? I bet the person who invented this cooking system is a seasoned chef. Yes, I can brown my meat in the very same unit before adding liquid for slow cooking. Not only it saves me time from washing another pot, but also, I don’t lose any of that browned meat flavor that I love so much. Plus, I don’t have to “babysit” my beef stew when it’s cooking on the stove top! That is a big plus. I know it sounds like a commercial, but no, I’m not getting paid to review this product. Although I know a few Ninja moves here and there but I bet the Ninjas have no idea of who I am! It’s just something that I’ve tried and loved, so I wanted to share with you all. If you wonder what that “3-in-1” part is about, this cooking system also has a steam infused baking and steam infused roasting functions besides slow cooking, that I have yet to try. I’ll sure report back once I did.
On certain days that I’m in a rush to put this stew together before I need to get out the door, I’ve developed a few “short cut” steps that I’m going to share with you as well.
Want to come into the kitchen with me to see how I prepare this dish? You’re going to love how simple it is.
1) Peel and cut 2 medium onions in quarters. (Short cut: use 1 pound of frozen pearl onions. Yup, no cutting nor peeling involved.)
2) Peel and cut the carrots in 2-inch chunks. (Short cut: use 1 pound of baby carrots, again, no peeling nor cutting needed.)
3) Dice a pound of tomatoes (Short cut: used a 14 ounce can diced tomatoes).
4) Cut the beef chuck meat in 2 by 1-inch chunks, its a bit bigger than bite size pieces because they will shrink after the cooking process. (Short cut: some markets sell them pre-cut.)
5) Season the meat with steak seasonings and sprinkle with flour/corn starch.
6) Gently toss the meat to evenly coat with the seasonings and flour.
7) Set the machine to “Stove Top High Heat” for searing.
8) Add a tablespoon of olive oil.
9) Sear the meat on all sides.
10) Takes about 2 minutes per side, until they are nice and brown.
11) Add the liquid, I used a cup of dry red wine.
12) And 1 cup of Beef Consommé (or beef broth).
13) Add 3 bay leaves, a bunch of fresh herbs that includes fresh thyme, rosemary, and oregano (tide them with a kitchen twine for easy retrieval of the stems).
(Short cut: substitute fresh herbs with 1 tablespoons of dried herb, such as Herb de Provence.) I also added a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, a few dashes of Tabasco, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a tablespoon of tomato paste into the pot.
14) Set the Cooking system to “Slow Cook Low”, set it to 8 hours.
15) Cover the lid.
16) And your Hearty Beef Stew will be ready and waiting for you when you get home from a long day of work feeling tired and hungry!
Simple enough, right? It really is. This Ninja Cooking System is making my life much easier especially when I’m more busy these days as the Holiday Season approaches. I hope you’ll give this recipe a try, weather with a Ninja, regular slow cooker or stove top. It’s perfect for Fall and Winter and it’s totally my kind of comfort food! I hope you’ll love this recipe as much as my family does.
Hearty Beef Stew (Printable Recipe)
Servings: 8 to 10
4 pounds of Beef Chuck meat, cut into 1 by 2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon steak seasonings (I used Montreal Steak Seasoning)
1/4 cup flour (or 2-3 tablespoons corn starch)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup beef Consommé, or beef broth
2 medium onions, cut into quarters
1 pound carrot, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 pound tomatoes, diced
8 springs of fresh thyme
1 spring of rosemary
6 springs of fresh oregano
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
a few dashes of Tabasco
a pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
Season the meat with steak seasonings and sprinkle with flour/corn starch. Gently toss the meat to distribute the seasonings and flour. Set the Ninja Cooking System to “Stove Top High Heat” for searing.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil and sear the meat on all sides, about 2 minutes per side, or until they are nice and brown. Add the red wine and Beef Consommé (or beef broth). Add the onion, carrots and tomatoes on top. Tie the thyme, rosemary and oregano with a kitchen twine add add to the pot along with the bay leaves.
Set the Cooking system to “Slow Cook Low”, set it to 8 hours. Cover the lid.
Tips: If there’s too much oil when it’s done, remove the excess oil on top with a spoon before serving.
**Note: If cooking on stove top, don’t add the vegetables with the meat at the same time. Cook the meat first for 2 and a half hours on low heat, stir occasionally during cooking. Add the vegetables and cook for 45 minutes or until the carrots are tender. On stove top, I usually remove all the meat and vegetables when they are done and cook the liquid on medium-high heat until the liquid reduces by half.***