Slow Cooker Beef Stew: With dumplings, carrots and green beans

This slow cooker beef stew recipe is unusual in that I've included sweet potatoes. Putting the sweet potatoes in for the full eight hours makes them become part of the gravy, useful with difficult kids and giving a delicate flavour.

If you like your sweet potatoes firmer, put them in for the last four or five hours

The nice thing about stews is that you can put into them pretty much whatever you have available in the root vegetable department so don't be afraid to experiment.

Other possible additions or substitutions for slow cooker beef stew are parsnip, swede, turnip, tomato, red or green peppers, butternut squash, jerusalem artichokes and lemon.

Serves:

Four portions

Preparation time:

30 minutes

beef stew with sweet potatoes

Ingredients for this Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

Four medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
Four sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and sliced
Two pounds (1kg) stewing steak
Beef stock, enough to almost cover the ingredients
A chopped onion
Three or four chopped sticks of celery
Dried mixed herbs
Two bay leaves
Glass of red wine (for the stew)

Cooking Method: Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Place the cubed potatoes and any other root vegetables in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Add the sweet potatoes, onion and celery.
Add the beef. You can coat the beef in flour and brown it in the frying pan first. I don't find it makes any difference to a stew.
Add the wine, herbs, bay leaves.
Add stock until the liquid is visible.
Cook for eight hours on low.

Ingredients for Dumplings

50 gm. (2 oz.) beef suet, butter or margarine
100 gm. (4 oz.) self raising flour
Dried mixed herbs, (optional)

Making Dumplings in a Slow Cooker

The rule for dumplings is one part fat to two parts self raising flour by weight.

Combine the fat and the flour by rubbing the fat into the flour with your fingers in a mixing bowl. Add dried herbs to the flour before combining if you like.
When you get to a texture a bit like breadcrumbs, carefully add a little water at a time until you get a dough. Too much water will make the dumplings heavy.
Dip fingers into fresh flour to stop the dough sticking to them, and roll into balls.
Place the dumplings on top of the stew for the last hour of cooking. Don't push them down into the stew.

Do You Have a Favourite Recipe for This?

Do you have a favourite slow cooker recipe for this? Would you like to share it?

Slow Cooker Beef Tips

Value cuts of beef to ask for are:
Shin: from the foreleg.
Leg: from the hind leg.
Brisket: from behind the foreleg,
Chuck (blade or clod): from the shoulder,
Neck: from the neck, and
Flank (skirt): from the belly area.

To brown beef ready for slow cooking, dip pieces in flour and then brown in a frying pan.

Fresh beef should be refrigerated at or below 40 degrees F. or 5 degrees C. as soon as possible.

In a fridge, fresh beef will keep for up to five days. (Check the use by date).

Beef intended for freezing should be frozen as soon as possible and used within six months.

Never cook beef from frozen in a slow cooker, the slow heat build up will encourage the growth of bacteria. Always defrost first.

Beef can be de-frosted in the refrigerator, by microwave, or in cold water. In the fridge, allow 5 hours per pound

Keep cooked beef in the fridge and use within two days.

Don't start cooking beef, (or browning), and then re-refrigerate to continue cooking at a later time.
Warming it up without finishing the cooking process starts bacteria growing which will not be killed in the refrigerator.

Never add salt if you're using stock cubes for the stock. They are already salty. Taste before serving.
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