I have a love/hate relationship with my crockpot. There, I’ve said it. I love it for things like soup, or chili, where I truly do just dump in the ingredients and let it work its magic. The reason you won’t hear me say, “I couldn’t live without my slow cooker!!” is because I think there are some recipes where you really do have to do some key prep work to make the meal taste its best. Which kind of negates the whole idea of the crockpot being a totally prep-free cooking experience. So, this Brown Beer Crockpot Beef Stew is a little bit of a misleading recipe title, because it’s definitely not a set-it-and-forget-it recipe.
But – the prep work is easy and I promise, you’ll LOVE the end result.
Easy Meals – Brown Beer Crockpot Beef Stew
Apart from the obvious prep work of chopping and peeling veggies, pre-cooking the meat and steaming or sautéing some of the veggies will add more flavor to this meal.
Also included in this recipe are two optional (but definitely worth including) secret ingredients. The first is Worcestershire sauce. My dad swore by adding a splash of this sauce to his bolognaise sauce, which was amazing, so I have followed suit whenever I’m cooking with meat.
The second is Vegemite, which admittedly is a little tricky to come by in the US – I order mine from Amazon. An Aussie friend who was visiting was cooking a beef stew as a thank you for letting her crash on our couch taught me this trick – she added a generous teaspoon of Vegemite and let it simmer away on the stove. Even if you hate Vegemite (and I understand it is totally an acquired taste), you don’t actually pick up on the Vegemite in the finished meal, but it does add a depth of flavor.
With a little prep work, this delicious beef stew recipe finishes beautifully in the slow cooker. Full of flavor, full of veggies and super tender, this is a family favorite!
- 1 pound beef stew meat, chopped in large chunks (chuck, or bottom round are good cuts to try)
- 1 large clove garlic, finely diced
- 4 large carrots, chopped
- 1/2 pound baby potatoes (I used tricolor potatoes to add some more color)
- 1/2 pound pearl onions
- 1 pound mushrooms, chopped large
- 2 tablespoons finely diced fresh parsley
- 1 cup brown beer (or you can substitute stout beer)
- 1 cup cooking broth (beef or vegetable, or chicken broth in a pinch)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Secret Ingredients! 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce & 1 teaspoon Vegemite
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon each salt & pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Mix the flour, parsley, oregano and salt & pepper on a flat plate.
- Coat each piece of beef lightly with the flour mix, then saute on a medium heat in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Keep turning the meat to ensure browning on each side.
- Once the meat has a nice brown color, take off the heat and add to your slow cooker.
- Steam or boil the potatoes, carrots and onions until they are parboiled before adding to the slow cooker, to ensure they are fully cooked and soft when the stew is ready.
- Saute mushrooms and garlic on a low heat in a tablespoon of olive oil. (Tip: adding a tiny splash of beer when the mushrooms are nearly done will add a nice browned color).
- Set the mushrooms aside - you will add these and the frozen peas with about 30 minutes left to cook.
- The pre-sauted meat, parboiled veggies, parsley, beer, broth, tomato paste, as well as the secret ingredients of Worcestershire sauce and Vegemite (if you have them) can all go in the slow cooker on the high setting.
- Cook for 3 hours, but set your timer for 2 hours 30 minutes, so you can add the mushrooms, garlic and peas for the last half hour of cooking.
For twenty minutes of prepping, it’s worth it for the depth of flavor that sautéing the beef will add to the finished stew.
Are you a big fan of the crockpot?
Do you have any odd secret ingredients you add to your recipes?
Have you tried Vegemite? Someone told me if you don’t try it before you’re 2 years old, you never acquire the taste for it, so I made sure to have Roman try it at 6 months! 😉