Stews do very well in a slow cooker. However, I always start off by browning the vegetables and searing the beef on all sides before I add them into the pot because this gives the stew a better flavor. The vegetables – onion, carrots and celery – are basically a ‘mirepoix’, a French term describing the combination of vegetables used as a base for many soups and stews. The ratio of the vegetables is 2 parts onion to 1 part each of carrots and celery. I cooked the stew in a slow cooker for 6 hours, then I removed the beef from the pot, pureed three-quarters of the sauce and then put them all back together.
2 tbsp. olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. onion – chopped
2 large cloves of garlic – grated
4 oz. carrots – chopped into small pieces
4 oz. celery – chopped into small pieces
6 oz. frozen cranberries
2 pounds stewing beef – cut into bite size pieces
2 cups beef broth
1 cup of red wine
2 tbsp. redcurrant jelly
3 tbsp. prepared horseradish
Heat 1 tbsp. oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper in a skillet and when sizzling add the onion and let cook for a few minutes before adding the garlic, carrots and celery.
When the vegetables are nicely browned place them in the bottom of the slow cooker pot and cover with the cranberries.
Add the second tbsp. of oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to the skillet and when sizzling add half of the meat and sear until browned on all sides, then add to slow cooker. Repeat with the other half of the beef.
Pour in the beef broth and red wine then add the redcurrant jelly and horseradish and cook on low heat for 6 hours.