When preparing a beef stew, there are different effective ways to do it, but the slow cooker way has proven to be very effective and here is the recipe.
2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sweet paprika, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for coating
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound small white potatoes, halved
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, halved
3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, optional
1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves, chopped
Sour cream, for serving (optional)
Toss the beef with the paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Coat in flour and shake off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook undisturbed until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook, turning the beef as needed, until mostly browned, about 3 minutes more. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the beef to the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker; add the potatoes, mushrooms, carrots and onions and stir to combine.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and stir until the oil begins to turn brick-red, about 1 minute. Add the flour and wine and whisk until thick (it’s OK if there are some lumps). Add the beef broth, thyme, or any special seasoning of your choice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and bring to a simmer, whisking; continue simmering and whisking until the gravy is smooth and thick, about 4 minutes.
Pour the gravy into the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. The meat and vegetables should be tender.
Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley. Serve the stew in bowls with rice, pasta, beans or anything you are willing to try it with.
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