This is one of those dishes I love experimenting with, be it changing up the ingredients, or cooking it in a crockpot versus an oven. The recipe below can easily be put in the oven instead of a crockpot. I just like the ease of the crockpot, and that I don’t have to be home while it cooks. While this takes a lot more prep than a normal slowcooker meal, if I am making this on a weekday where I have to be at work, I do all the prep (vegetable cutting, getting my herbs ready, putting flour in the bag, etc.) the night before, which makes it go more quickly. If you like a more tomato-y stew, you could throw in a can of diced tomatoes. I used to make this without tomato paste but realized even adding a tablespoon or two really added some depth of flavor, so I do that, now. But, I’ve never been one for a very tomato-y beef stew.
I used to just add red wine to the stew, but now I marinate the beef in wine, too (a tip I picked up from Ina). It’s not necessary, but I do like the additional flavor it imparts. If you make this in the oven, cook it in a covered dutch oven at 275-300* for about 2 hours. Stir the frozen peas in at the end, the same way you would for the crockpot version.
The version below yields a big batch. It fills my 6 qt. slowcooker to the brim, so if you are making the full recipe, make sure your slowcooker is at least 6 qts.
2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
4 cups red wine, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1.5 cup sliced carrots
1.5 cup sliced celery
4-5 potatoes, cut in fourths or eighths depending on size
8 oz. sliced mushrooms, stems removed and cut in half
2 bay leaves (or 1, if it’s bigger)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2-3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, diced
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1.5 tsp. dried thyme
1.5 tsp. dried rosemary
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup frozen peas
Place the meat, 2 cloves garlic, and 3.5 cups red wine in a large, covered container. Refrigerate for a couple hours, or overnight.
Place the potatoes, carrots, celery and mushrooms on the bottom of the crockpot. Season with a little salt and pepper and nestle in the bay leaf/leaves.
In a large resealable bag, combine flour, 1 tsp. salt, and .5 tsp. pepper. In batches, add meat and shake to coat. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add stew meat, and cook until evenly browned on the outside. Cook in batches so as not to crowd the meat. Place the browned meat on top of the vegetables in the slowcooker.
In the same skillet you used for the meat, melt the butter and saute onions until softened. Add the tomato paste and cook off a bit and stir in garlic until fragrant. Pour remaining .5 cup red wine and beef broth into the skillet, deglazing the pan and scraping the brown bits. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, parsley, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Reduce slightly before pouring the mixture into the crockpot.
Cook on low for 7-9 hours.
When done, stir in peas and warm through. Adjust seasoning if necessary.