Two weekends ago we had friends over for a grown-up dinner. Because it wasn’t a meal that revolved around feeding large quantities of guys and beer, I was free to set the menu to something a little more delicate, yet filling – Beef Provencal stew.
I got the recipe out of a book on slow-cooker meals. Because our slow-cooker is rather small, the meals usually make 3-4 servings, depending how generous you are. Because I was making a stew, I knew I could get away with serving it over egg noodles as a buffer. It worked!
Below is the recipe, along with the photos I took while making it. The photos do not do the smell justice. My god it smells amazing.
3tbsp olive oil ** I used three of our oil/herb cubes!
4oz lean salt pork or thick-cut bacon, diced **I find bacon works just fine
2lb stewing steak cut into cubes **most grocery stores have stewing meat already cubed
1 large onion, chopped **I used half an onion because we have a small slow-cooker
2 carrots, sliced **I used about a dozen garden variety carrots, they were purple, dark orange and yellow. It made for a beautiful looking stew
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped **canned tomatos work just fine, one can will do. I used some of our tomato sauce as it was easy, accessible and already seasoned!
2tsp tomato paste
2 garlic gloves, very finely chopped.
1 cup fruity red wine ** cooking wine to the rescue! I just went to my LCBO./NB Liquor/ SAQ and ask for a 10$ bottle of fruity red wine. Any red wine will do, but the undertones of the wine will come out in your stew, so chose according to preference.
2/3 cup beefstock **I used about a full cup, as I added 1/3 cup later in the stewing process.
1 bouquet garni **really easy to make, just grab some cheese cloth and mix salt, pepper, herbs de provence, a bay leaf or two, then tie the thing into a knot!
1tbsp chopped fresh parsley **for serving
The entire prep process took about 30minutes, and then I let it cook for about 5-6hours.
Step 1 : Heat 1tbsp of the oil in a large heavy frying pan, then add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Stir until fat is rendered. ** I used a large Le Creuset braser, but a cast iron skillet works nicely!
Step 2: Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to the ceramic cooking pot and switch the slow cooker to high.
Step 3: Working in batches, add the beef to the pan in a single layer (don’t overcrowd the pan). Cook 6-8 minutes until browned, make sure to get all the sides!
Step 4: Transfer the beef to the ceramic cooking pot and continue browning the rest of the meat in the same way, adding more oil as you go. ** Just add another oil/herb cube!
Step 5: Pour the wine and stock over the beef in the ceramic cooking pot, then add the bouquet garni.
Add remaining oil and onion to the pan, and cook gently for 5 minutes.
Stir in the carrots and cook for a further 5 minutes until softened.
Stir in the tomatoes, tomato puree and garlic.
Transfer everything to the ceramic cooking pot.
Step 6: Once everything is in the slow cooker, put the lid on and leave it for 5-7 hours! Stir occasionally, and consider toping-up the liquid with beef stock and wine… to your own preference of course.
For serving, I cooked-up egg noodles. One bag did the trick for 4 people.
Serve with fresh cut parsley on top, and bam! There you have it, Beef Provencal Stew like a pro!
Do you have any favourite stew/slow cooker recipes? Do you have a variation on the Beef Provencal stew that I should know about?