Sunday, December 6, 2009

Classic Beef Stew with Mushrooms

I love Numerous times a year I order books. Last week, my theme was Diabetes Cookbooks - 3 of them, all published in co-operation with the Canadian Diabetes Corporation. I have Canada's Diabetes Meals for Good Health by Karen Graham, Complete Canadian Diabetes Cookbook, Edited by Katherine E. Younker, and the one I'm using today - Canadian Diabetes Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson.
I am using the recipe "Classic Beef Stew" as a guide, but because I like to improvise with ingredients and I only have .645 kg (2.4 lbs.) of meat and not a full kilo, I'll be adjusting the recipe a bit by adding fresh mushrooms. And, at this stage, I'm not sure what else because I haven't started yet. It's "Dollar Days" at Sobey's and IGA, so I have baby carrots and mushrooms waiting in the wings. The challenge for me will be not to add potatoes. How can there be a stew without potatoes? I have NEVER made a stew without potatoes. This will be the first if I can do it!

I've brought up my slow cooker from the basement, washed the dust away, and It's ready to go!

Basic Ingredient List:

1 tbsp olive oil
1.4 lbs stewing beef, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes.
2 onions, chopped medium
4 stalks celery, chopped into 1/4" pieces
2-3 large carrots, chopped into 1/2" chunks - or 2 cups baby carrots.
At least 2 cloves of garlic. (I will use 4)
1 tsp. dried thyme. (I love thyme in a stew - I will double it.)
1 tsp. salt.
10 dried peppercorns
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 cup vegetable broth. (Recipe asks for low salt beef broth, but I don't have any.)
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 cups fresh mushrooms, quartered
2 bay leaves

1. Brown the beef in a skillet using a little of the olive oil at a time and medium-high heat. Transfer it to the slow cooker when it's lightly browned. Already I had to deviate from the recipe and sprinkle the meat with garlic powder and Mrs. Dash Original Spice Blend.

2. Reduce the heat to medium and add onions, carrots, and celery to soften. Again a sprinkle of garlic powder and Mrs. Dash. Then add mushrooms, garlic, salt, thyme and peppercorns. After a couple minutes, add flour and stir into the pan. Then add the liquids and stir until it thickens a bit. Add the bay leaves.

3. Transfer the whole works to the slow cooker, give it a thorough mixing. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 or 5 hours. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

As I was making it, I thought about variations. Rutabagas and leeks perhaps?

The verdict - DH liked it. I liked it too, but I felt there was a little too much of the red wine flavour. Next time, I would cut back or omit the wine and add more garlic!


  1. There's a great book by Marlene Koch that I've used for years called "375 Sensational Splenda Recipes". I think you'd really like it.

  2. I have the book. I do peruse it fairly often when I'm looking for inspiration!