Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Slow Cooker Beef and Cranberry Red Wine Stew

The weather is getting colder and wetter by the day and it’s time to eat things that are not just nutritious but hearty and stick-to-the-ribs filling. If you live an area when temperatures can drop to 40 below at the peak of winter, or even if you’re sensitive to the cold, this stew is for you. Packed with beef, vegetables, holiday-friendly cranberry sauce and red wine and finished with a little Greek yogurt, it’s heaven as is or with rice or mashed potatoes.

Don’t be put off by the cook time and number of ingredients. Whether you do it in the oven or in a slow cooker (crock pot) this is the kind of thing you can fix and forget until it’s time to put the finishing touches on to eat and enjoy, and most of the stuff on this list you probably already have in your fridge and pantry.

Here’s How You Do It

Difficulty Level: Medium
Prep  time: 25 Minutes
Oven Cook Time: About 3 Hours
Slow Cooker Time: 6 Hours

Feeds at least 4 to 6


1 Pound of Stewing Beef or Venison

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

1 Cup of Chopped Carrots

1 Cup of Chopped Onions – About half a large onion or 2 Medium Ones

1 Cup of Chopped Leeks

1 Cup of Chopped Celery

2 Large Cloves of Garlic, peeled and finely chopped

3 Strips of Bacon, Finely Chopped

3 Tablespoons of Dijon Mustard

3 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste

2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce

1 Cup of Red Wine – Use anything you have leftover or get something cheap just for cooking

2 Cups of Beef Stock – Instant or from a carton is fine

½ Cup of Red Wine Vinegar

½ Cup of Jellied Cranberry Sauce – The kind that comes in a can

1 Teaspoon of Paprika

1 Teaspoon of Rosemary

Salt and Pepper to Taste

4 Tablespoons of Corn Starch mixed with 2 Tablespoons of Water or Until it forms a soupy paste - Optional

1 Tablespoon of Butter

1 Cup of Greek Yogurt – 5% or 2% Fat is ideal, but if you’re calorie counting, go with a lower fat variety


1 Slow Cooker or a Pot with a lid that can go in the Oven – If your pot has metal handles and is bottom heavy, it will probably be ok, but if you’re in doubt, use a deep baking pan covered in foil instead

1 Wooden Spoon

Measuring Cups and Spoons

1 Mixing Bowl

1 Knife and Cutting Board

1 Regular Bowl

1 Frying Pan

IF YOU’RE USING THE OVEN, turn it to 350 0F.

In a pan on medium high heat, add the olive oil.

When the oil slides easily around in the pan, add the leeks, carrots, celery, and onion. Stir everything around with a wooden spoon until the vegetables have softened slightly and brightened in colour.

Add the garlic to the veggies and stir it around until you smell the garlic.

Turn off the stove and dump the veggies into your slow cooker or pot.

Put the stewing meat in your mixing bowl and add the paprika, rosemary, and a little salt and pepper. Set aside.

Put the chopped bacon in the same frying pan you used to cook the vegetables and add a cup of water.

Turn the heat on high, stirring every once in a while until the water has evaporated and forced the bacon to release some of its fat. When the bacon is reddish brown around the edges, scoop it into the pot or slow cooker.

Without draining the pan of all that delicious fat, turn the heat on medium high and cook the stewing meat, stirring occasionally until all the pieces are brown on all sides.

Dump the meat into the pot with the other ingredients.

Add the beef stock, red wine, cranberry sauce, soy sauce, tomato paste, and Dijon mustard to the pot and stir everything together with your wooden spoon to break up the cranberry sauce a little. The heat will do the rest.

IF YOU’RE USING A SLOW COOKER, put the lid on, turn it on high and walk away for 3 hours. Then turn it on low for the remaining 3.

IF YOU’RE USING A POT, put the lid on and stick it in the oven for 3 hours.

Whichever method you use, the stew is ready for the finishing touches when a piece of stewing meat falls apart easily when mashed with a fork.

Taste the stew and season with salt and pepper until it tastes good to you.

If the stew is too runny for you, stir in that mix of corn starch and water a little at a time until the stew is thick enough for you.

Stir in the butter. This gives the stew a nice glossiness, making it extra appetizing.

Stir in the yogurt.

Let it cool for 5 minutes and serve!

This will keep in the fridge for about a week.


-Samantha R. Gold

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