Beef Stew flat in the Slow Cooker

I’m experimenting with my stews and braises to see if the new slow cooker can pull it off.  I’m adapting the Beef Stew Spectacular recipe and mainly just changing a few logistics.  A really cool trick I learned from Cooks Illustrated Family Cookbook is to put whole new potatoes in around the edges and then quarter them after cooking.  One less peel and chop step is alright with me!

Chop vegetables much larger, 1″ for Carrots and Celery, 1/2″ for onions.

Brown meat in two batches over medium high heat and remove to slow cooker.

Remove vegetable/tomato paste/flour mixture to slow cooker before deglazing.

“Rinse” pot with additional broth to get every last bit of the fond and umami.  Umami so yummy!

Tuck potatoes around edges of pot.

High for 4 hours.

Add parsley, peas, and a slurry of 1/3 C beef broth to 1/3 C flour to thicken.

Results:

This version was not spectacular.  I was really intrigued by the whole potato idea, but they quickly disintegrated when quartered and incorporated back into the stew.  The liquid was not thickened, despite the addition of my normal amount of flour prior to slow cooking.  Thus the need for the slurry.  I’m not sure yet, but I have a feeling that the flatness in the flavor may have been due to the raw flour in the slurry.

In the future, I would double the tomato paste, wine, and herbs to see if that would offset the flatness.  I also think the beef would stay intact better if we used the low setting for cooking.  I also miss the turnips so I may need to add turnips and potatoes somewhere near the last hour or two of cooking.  More experiments to come!

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