Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Crockpot Beef Stew and Sandra Lee

So, I feel like since I've been giving this recipe out at least once a week to someone, I might as well just post the darn thing on here and then just reference my blog! More readers and less work on my part, heh.

I came up with this beef stew recipe after some great discussions with friends on the Television Without Pity Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee forum about crockpot cooking and how to make good meals without cooking like Sandra Lee.

I suppose I should explain further.

I am a self-proclaimed Shrike. I do not like Sandra Lee, I do not like what she stands for, and I really do not like her "recipes" (or arrrrussipees, if you like to use Sandra-speak). Many years ago, I happened upon her show as I walked through the room. This was back when Food Network focused mainly on actual cooking shows, and was great for having on as background noise, and since I was in the middle of writing for my comprehensive exam, I spent a lot of time at home. Anyway, she was making Tiramisu. With Mascarpone cheese (mars-capone, in Sandra-speak) mixed into pudding cups. Seriously? I am not going to spend money on good Mascarpone just to mix it with artificially-flavored paste, and I am especially not going to scrape out pudding cups. I started watching her show just to yell at the TV, and then eventually I found the community on TWoP. They are absolutely hilarious, smart, wonderful people, who never would have met if it wasn't for our shared dislike of this woman. Crazy, isn't it?

In any case, we tend to share a lot of recipes. Good recipes, many of which could be considered to follow the Semi-Ho philosophy, if it had ever been executed correctly in the first place. Lots of canned beans, tomatoes, etc, are fine. Using truffle oil with your RealLemon? Not so much. We like real food, with real ingredients, and NO seasoning packets.

This beef stew is easy, tastes good, and is inexpensive to make. I don't need to flavor it with a can of beef stew or a packet of beef gravy. The only seasoning is Emeril's Essence, and that's not even essential to the recipe - you can flavor with thyme alone if you want. Enjoy! I like to serve with cheesy grits, but it's also fine with egg noodles or your favorite starch. Or just by itself with a loaf of crusty bread and a pint of beer.

Crockpot Beef Stew

3 Tbsp olive oil

¼ c flour

2 lbs lean stew beef

2 Tbsp Emeril’s Essence

1 onion, sliced against the grain

3 carrots, in ½” slices

½ lb mushrooms

1-2 lbs baby Yukon gold potatoes, quartered

4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped

2-3 Tbsp tomato paste

¾ can Murphy’s stout, or Guiness, or red wine, or beef broth

2 cups water



Bay leaf

2 Tbsp butter/margarine/oil

2-3 Tbsp flour

Season beef with salt, pepper, essence. Add flour and toss to coat. Heat oil in pan, brown beef in two batches and put into crockpot. While beef is cooking, cut up onion, potatoes, garlic, mushrooms, and carrots and put into crockpot. After beef is finished, add tomato paste to pan, cook a bit, then deglaze pan with beer, scraping up all the browned bits. (Drink the rest of the beer as a present to yourself, or add the whole can, I guess, but I'd rather drink it!) Add to crockpot along with water. Cook on high setting for 4 hours (or low for 6-8 hours). Make a roux of butter and flour, stir into stew, cook for 1 hour more. Adjust seasoning as needed.

Serve with green beans, bread, cheese grits.