Hearty Slow-Cooker Beef Stew

By: Karenia Bowman |

Nothing says “cozy winter comfort food” quite like beef stew.

If you know me, you know there’s nothing I love more than family gatherings, valid excuses for being extra festive, and healthier takes on our favorite comfort foods. My husband is a comfort food guy through and through, so naturally I eat up every ounce of his unrestrained enthusiasm when I make one of the classics. According to my husband, Hearty Beef Stew is the holy grail of comfort food. When I make him his beloved hearty beef stew, nothing else in the world matters to him except for those deliciously tender chunks of beef, velvety smooth pillows of potato along with the ensemble of stew veggies that melt in your mouth with each and every bite. We can’t forget about that deep, rich, savory sauce … because it’s all about the sauce. I think it’s pretty safe to say that when it comes to feeding a true comfort food connoisseur, saucy beefy things are a BIG DEAL. 

You might be asking, “How can I make a healthier version of such a serious classic without sacrificing my lifestyle goals?”

Easily. With a few strategic swaps, you can enjoy comforting favorites like this beef stew. Instead of purchasing the fattier cuts of stew meat, opt for extra lean cuts. You will drastically reduce the fat and calories without sacrificing flavor. My other strategic swap involves thickening the sauce.  A lot of stew recipes use white flour as the main thickening agent. I have nothing against white flour, but with gluten intolerance and/or sensitivity on the rise, I always look for convenient alternatives such as cornstarch, which is inexpensive and readily available.

This recipe is all about convenient home cooked comfort food. No endless hours in the kitchen, no huge pile of dirty dishes that will not do themselves, just some minor chopping, mixing and setting the slow cooker. Whether your days and nights are filled with some seasonal festive fun, or you’re heading to the gym for a much needed workout at the end of a busy day, or you simply can’t cook but you have to eat something to stay alive, the slow cooker can and will be your best friend here.

Even though many of us love this time of year, we are often exhausted by the end of each day. Endless parties and gatherings, holiday events and obligations, the struggle to maintain the balance of a healthy lifestyle in the midst of abundant temptation, and the excitement of the season followed by the inevitable burnout, are all very real experiences we may encounter. As the holidays get closer and our days and evenings get busier, coming home to cook a labor intensive meal is the last thing we want to do. It’s okay to make things a little (or a lot) easier on yourself. Plug in your slow cooker with pride, and let it do the work for you … You can even skip the dishes.

All you need to do is pull up a chair and serve yourself up a generous bowl of this hearty, savory stew to soothe your soul, and fill your belly at the end of a long, eventful day. 

 

 

Hearty Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Gluten-free, high-protein, low-fat

Servings: 6 | 282 calories per serving
27g Protein | 28g Carbs | 4g Fat 

Ingredients

1.5 lb. extra lean stew meat, trimmed and cubed

1 lb. Dutch baby or red potatoes, quartered

1 cup yellow onion, diced

1 cup celery, chopped

1.5 cups carrot, peeled and sliced into rounds

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup dry red wine

1 cup reduced sodium beef broth, gluten free

2 Tablespoons tomato paste, whisked in broth

1/4 cup cornstarch, dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water

2 bay leaves

1.5 teaspoons dried thyme

Kosher salt & coarse ground pepper, to taste


Preparation

  1. Place the trimmed stew meat in the slow cooker. Quarter the baby potatoes, dice the onion, chop the celery, slice the peeled carrots and mince the garlic cloves, then add them to the slow cooker. Pour wine over the meat and vegetable mixture. Whisk the tomato paste in the beef broth until smooth, then pour the mixture into the slow cooker cavity. In a small ramekin, combine 1/4 cup of cold water and cornstarch. Gently stir until the cornstarch has dissolved. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the slow cooker. Add the bay leaves and dried thyme, then season the stew mixture with salt and pepper. Cover the stew with a lid and turn the heat on the low setting, and let cook for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. When the stew is done, remove the bay leaves. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste preferences and enjoy immediately, or transfer to an airtight storage container and store in the refrigerator for later.

 



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