This is an old fashioned beef stew for the slow cooker. The easy slow cooker beef stew is flavored with a variety of basic pantry herbs and seasonings, along with garlic, onion, and vegetables.
The liquid is low sodium beef broth, but feel free to replace part of the broth or stock with a good quality red wine. See the variations for more substitutions and add-ins.
I usually sear the seasoned beef first, but if you are pressed for time you can skip that step.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, divided
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 pounds lean stew beef
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 cups beef broth or bouillon, low sodium
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium dried bay leaves
- 6 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 6 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup cold water blended with 3 tablespoons flour
- Combine flour, 1 teaspoon of paprika and the garlic powder in a food storage bag; add stew beef and toss to coat.
- Heat the vegetable oil or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Brown the seasoned and coated beef in the hot oil, turning to sear the beef on all sides. Transfer the browned beef to the crockery insert of a slow cooker.
- Add the onion, garlic, broth, salt, lemon juice, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, the black pepper, bay leaves, carrots, and potatoes. See the variations below for other possible vegetable additions.
- Cook the beef stew on low for about 7 to 9 hours, or until the beef and vegetables are tender.
- About 30 minutes before serving, add the flour and water mixture to the crock pot. Turn the heat setting to high and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the broth has thickened.
- Replace about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the beef broth with red wine, such as a cabernet, merlot, or burgundy (pinot noir).
- Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of diced rutabaga to the stew mixture along with the potatoes and carrots.
- Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of sliced celery.
- Add a handful of peeled pearl onions or frozen pearl onions to the stew along with the other vegetables.
- Add 4 to 6 ounces of sliced or small whole mushrooms (fresh or canned and drained) to the stew along with the vegetables.
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