Beef Stew and homemade bread

Posted on September 25, 2011


Today I have officially succeeded to use my crockpot in such a way that it produced some really very tasty food. I think that in the past week I’ve used chicken (which should’ve been cooked for less time than the length of my workday…) and didn’t try very good flavorful sauces to have cook INTO something like chicken, which soaked up bbq sauce and seemed to just dry and fall apart…

This recipe has been hanging out in my open webpages on my phone for the last week or so, since we have been wanting beef stew, and it was requested as the first meal to be made in the crockpot – which I didn’t manage to do, but it is certainly the best yet!

I found this recipe, which if you read the comments below it has been made in varying ways, but mostly everybody seemed to really like it. I found it interesting that you can search a long time for “crock pot” recipes and come up with very litte, but then when you look for “slow cooker” you come up with many more. Is that a “kleenex/facial tissue” or “jacuzzi/whirlpool tub” kind of a difference? I’m going to say I think it is. I will be searching for “slow cooker” recipes from here on out.

I used:

2.34 lbs of “slow cooker” beef chuck (it was closest to 2 lbs at the store, and it was not too expensive, so I got it)
flour mix (put in either a gallon sized bag, or a bowl to bread beef) 1/3c all purpose flour, 1/2 tspn salt, 1/2 tspn ground black pepper
2 tbspn EVOO
1 onion – chopped up
2 sticks celery – chopped up
2 cloves garlic – minced up
5 potatoes – chopped up
4 carrots – chopped up
2 c beef broth
1/4c white wine
2 bay leaves
1/4 tspn paprika
1 tspn worcestershire  sauce
1 pk mccormick’s beef stew seasoning

I thawed out the beef, which took FOREVER, but I was able to clean the house up a little, go get coffee, look at my newspapers, organize some things, make shopping lists for the week, and listen to parts of the beginning of the football game. FINALLY the beef was thawed out, with some help from the microwave…

I covered the beef in the flour mix (either toss it around, ala shakenbake in a bag, or toss in a bowl) while heating evoo in a pan, brown the beef, and when browned toss in onion. While this cooks, chop up rest of vegetables. Take beef out of pan, place in slow cooker/pot. Cover with vegetables, and rest of seasoning, I mixed all the liquids together so that they would mix in better once it was all dumped in the pot together. I cooked it on “high” for about 4-5 hours, until the carrots and potatoes were soft.

about an hour after it was all dumped in the crockpot

When it had been cooking for about an hour or two I made bread.  I was looking for a recipe that maybe would be heavy enough to hold stew, and not fall apart, but not be the crispy type of bread that cuts the roof of your mouth or hurts your teeth when you eat it. Boom, baby, I found it!

In my stand mixer I put:
1 1/2 c bread flour
1 1/2 c all – purpose flour*
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp yeast
2 tbs evoo
1 – 1 1/4 c lukewarm water
1/4c cornmeal to dust cooking surface
1 egg white to glaze (optional)

mix dry ingredients until completely mixed in, then add evoo, and add 1 c lukewarm water, add up to 1/4 more or until you have a smooth consistency that incorporates all the flour. kneed by hand for about 5 mins. put a bit of evoo in mixing bowl so dough won’t stick, place in warm place with a [clean] wet dishcloth covering it. Let raise for 30-45 mins or until twice it’s size. It’ll change ever so slightly in color as well.

(In downtime, depending on how slowly your oven preheats, start preheating during the time dough is raising…. Mine takes FOREVER it seems to reach 375)

Flour countertop, kneed dough out – punch out air. Form into a baguette type of shape, roughly a foot long, put on an ungreased cookie sheet (or pizza stone, or whatever you have) dusted with cornmeal. Cut a long line down the center of the loaf, lightly glaze with an egg white (you’ll probably use less than half of it, unless you spill it ALL OVER THE PLACE, like I did…)

Cook for about 25 -35 mins, depending on how brown you want it. I turned the oven off at about 22 mins in, and let the bread stand in the oven as it cooled down, tapped the loaf to make sure it sounded hollow (aka, all the way cooked) and then promptly left the house to go buy appliances with my little sister. God, I love this cooking while leaving the house thing!

*why? because I found that bread flour is WAY more expensive that my local grocery stores, and I figured I could “fudge it” a little bit and maybe have a breadier feel to the loaf, but not waste $$ on flour.

good bread for soup!

After a quick trek to the north shore, I came home and had some of this waiting for me. I was impressed at how good it tasted with so little slaving over a hot… anything! Whoever invented this crock pot thing really had the right idea.

Bowl 1 of....?