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From The Kitchen: Slow Cooker Beef Stew

About a year ago, the crock pot that my Mom had given me gave up the ghost right in the middle of cooking a chicken dinner.  Granted, it was probably 10+ years old, but I can almost guarantee Mom had never used the thing.  It looked brand new when I adopted it.  Previously I had used it quite a bit, especially when I was working, to have a hot dinner waiting for us when I was too bone-tired to cook a meal at the end of the day.  I had a few go-to recipes that I used in it, but I really lacked creativity.  So when it was time to replace the crock pot, my husband and I decided on the Ninja 3-in-1 cooking system.  I had seen the commercial and of course was skeptical of the claims it made.  However, despite my initial reservation we purchased it anyway.  Let me tell you, this thing is AMAZING!  Any doubt that crept into my mind was immediately erased by what became my new favorite way to cook spaghetti.  But I digress…

Since we acquired this new handy-dandy cooking tool, I started looking for new and creative ways to use it.  I did find my old tried and true recipes worked just fine, but the same old pot roast and chicken can get a bit old after a while.  On my Internet journey to find new and exciting things, I came across a recipe on Panera‘s website for Slow Cooker Beef Stew.  It looked so wonderfully scrumptious that I saved it and I always had that good intention of actually trying “some day.”  That “some day” arrived when I found a nice lean chuck roast on sale.  Most of the remaining ingredients were already stocked into my pantry and fridge, so today I was good to go when I decided to make this. This takes a little prep, but it’s easy to put together.  My total prep time was about 15 minutes, and I chose to cook at the Low setting on my Ninja for 8 hours.

Photo Courtesy of Panera Bread.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew. Photo credit: Panera Bread

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds cubed beef chuck
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs olive oil (have extra handy!)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 1/2 cups small baby-cut carrots
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can (14.5oz) no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth and/or dry red wine (the original calls for 1 1/2 to 2 cups.  I used 2 cups of broth)
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves

How To Put It Together:

  1. Season beef with salt, pepper and thyme.  Coat in flour
  2. Heat oil in Ninja on High “Stove Top” setting.  When hot, add beef in batches and brown on each side.  Remove to bowl and repeat until all the beef is browned.  Set aside.
  3. Discard all but 2 Tbs of fat from the cooker (the meat I used was lean, so I had to use additional olive oil for this step). Add onions and celery to the Ninja and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Chop 1/2 cup of the carrots and add them to the Ninja along with the garlic.  Cook another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the beef, remaining carrots, potatoes, canned tomatoes (juice and all), broth or wine, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Cover and cook on High for 4-5 hours, or on Low for 8 hours.

Credit to Panera Bread for the recipe and the inspiration for tomorrow’s dinner, and one more goody to add to my growing collection of precooked dinners for the freezer. I can’t wait to try this!

Buon appetito!

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