Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kathy's Best Beef Stew Ever!

Modified from Taste of Home’s Slow Cooker Classics: Vegetable Beef Stew - “A bit sweet from the fruit and squash, with a bit of South American or Cuban flair.”

• ¾ to 1 Pound of lean beef stew meat, cut into ½ inch cubes (I didn’t cut more than store had it cut for stew)
• 2 teaspoons canola oil or olive oil
• 1 can 14 ½ oz beef broth (I used one cup hot water and 1 teaspoon beef boullion)
• 1 can 14/12 ounces stewed tomatoes cut up (I used can of diced tomatoes)
• 1 ½ cups cubed peel butternut squash ( I used 1 large yam cut up into
1 ½ cups, or I can of butternut squash and skip the cornstarch)
• 1 cup frozen corn thawed (or I used 1 cup from can of green giant sweet niblet corn)
• 6 dried apricot or peach halves quartered ( I used 1 fresh cut up peach – could have used more, second time did 10 apricots dried)
• ½ cup chopped carrot (I used little sized carrots cut in thirds, second time think chunks)
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp pepper
• 2 tablespoons corn starch mixed in ¼ cup water (skip if use canned squash)
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

In nonstick skillet, brown beef in oil over medium heat. Transfer to slow cooker.
Add the broth, tomatoes, squash, corn, apricots, carrot, oregano, salt and pepper.
Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours or until vegetables and meat are tender. ( I did 6 hours on high-perfect and meat was tender not dry).

Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into stew. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until gravy is thickened. (I put in right away with other ingredients in the beginning and it turned out a great thickness).

Stir in fresh chopped parsley (I did do that in the end).

This made 4 hefty servings, more like 5.  Next time – double for serving 8-10 and invite company.

Served with fresh fruit and also with warmed Ciabatta bread and cheese slices.

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