I have been in the process of emptying out my freezers (yes there are only 2 people in my house and we have 2 freezers). I am preparing slowly for the upcoming move and that means using up everything possible in the pantry and freezer. I found some mystery meat in the freezer, beef rib trim. Only a mystery to me as I had never cooked with it. It is a tougher cut of meat, quite inexpensive, that likes to be cooked low and slow.
Great! I am using my slow cooker nearly every other day now, and I needed a lovely warming meal to feed the hubby who had been away for work and had eaten quite poorly. I always like to have a healthy hearty meal for him when he gets back from travelling with loads of vegetables. Beef stew was at the top of my list. I had high hopes that there would be enough left over that we could make a cottage pie, however it was the best stew I have ever made so it never made it to pie.
I usually make a batch of stew that is enough to feed an army. There are certain recipes that I don’t know how to make small, usually. Stew and lasagna. Luckily, I only had about half a kilo of meat, so it made enough for two large portions and two, ahem, lady sized portions.
This stew is rich, and as it cooks really thickened nicely. I cut the bacon into small pieces and cooked until they turned brown and then put them straight in the slow cooker along with the shallots. I coated the beef lightly in flour and browned it in the same frying pan I had cooked the bacon in just to sear the meat, then put it straight in the slow cooker. I literally then put all other ingredients in and left to cook all day. I usually taste the stew once the meat is totally cooked just to see what seasonings I need to add. I season towards the end and sometimes add in a final spoonful of tomato paste or a crumbled stock cube to add a bit more oomph. This cut of meat meant that I did not need to thicken the stew, however if you use a different cut of meat, just stir in a bit of cornflour/cornstarch near the end into a bowl with some of the stew liquid and whisk it in and then add the lump free mix into the slow cooker to thicken things up.
For the wine, use a manly meaty red wine. I used chateauneuf du pape as that is all I had in the house, but I would usually use something a bit more thrifty. Use whatever you have, it needn’t be expensive, but it should be a bit bold. I made the dumplings on the first day we had stew and stored the remaining dumplings in the fridge and used them a day later and they turned out just as well as the first night.
At the end I served the stew with some steamed red cabbage, with a bit of butter stirred into the stew and cabbage. This is a rich satisfying stew that makes you feel quite warm and snuggly inside, and is a great rainy day meal.