Slow Cooker Beef and Leek Stew
A guest post from Karen:
When your Space Girl Organics produce box brings you Fall vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions, and leeks, it’s time to make a hearty beef stew. And since life sometimes goes by so fast that slow-cooked food gets passed by, your friend the slow cooker is standing by.
A friend commented, “It’s not a slow cooker meal if you have to cook it before it goes in the pot!” If you have the time, browning the meat, onions, and leeks gives a deeper flavor to the stew, but it will still taste great if you need to toss it all in and go.
The recipe calls for organic ketchup, which seems strange but it is a great chef’s secret to add a background flavor that really complements the beef. Just make sure to use an organic brand to avoid high-fructose corn syrup.
Leeks lend a sweet, mild onion-garlic flavor to the stew. They require a little preparation. Trim the root end and any dry, frayed pieces on the end of the leaves. Then cut through the stem and halve it. Cut into ½-inch pieces, and then put the cut leeks into a big bowl of water. Swoosh them around, and let them sit so the sand and silt sink to the bottom of the bowl. Repeat the process once, and then scoop the leeks out of the bowl, being careful not to stir up or remove any sediment.
1 T. olive oil
3 cups scrubbed & diced organic Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 ½ pounds)
2 cups scraped & trimmed organic carrots, cut into ½” pieces
1 organic onion, diced
2 pounds stew beef (grass-fed & finished if available), cut in 1-in. pieces
½ cup rice flour (for GF) or all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 c. water
2 t. beef base like organic Better than Bouillon
1 T. organic ketchup
1 cup organic frozen peas
Place the potatoes and carrots in the crockpot.
Combine flour with salt and pepper in a bowl. Heat a large skillet over a medium-high flame and add olive oil. Toss ¼ of the meat in the flour mixture, then brown in the heated oil. Repeat until all the beef is browned in small batches. A crowded pan leads to beef that steams and doesn’t get that beautiful brown crust.
Add beef to the crockpot. In the same skillet, cook the onions and leeks until translucent. Remove from skillet to the pot. Add one cup of water to the heated skillet to deglaze the beef and onion bits. Add the beef base and stir, then pour into the crockpot.. Cook for 8-10 hours on low until the beef and vegetables are tender. Newer crockpots tend to cook more quickly. Add the ketchup and frozen peas and cook an additional half hour. Adjust seasoning to taste.