SLOW COOKER BEEF & BEET STEW
1 pound beef stew meat (like Chuck, cut into 2" cubes)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon rendered lard, bacon fat or neutral cooking oil
1 large head of fennel, cored and roughly chopped
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
1 head of garlic, sliced horizontally through the stem to expose the cloves
3 cups beef stock (substitute with unseasoned beef, chicken or vegetable broth)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound small red beets, peeled and cut in half
1 “sachet” (small muslin teabag or cheesecloth package containing 3-4 bay leaves, 1/4 teaspoon each black peppercorns, cloves, and coriander—optional)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
To Garnish: sour cream, fresh cracked black pepper and fine herbs (dill, parsley, and tarragon)
- Season the stew meat with the salt and pepper and sear on all sides in a large cast-iron pan using the lard or cooking oil. If your slow cooker has a searing option, do this and the following steps entirely in your slow-cooker.
- After the beef is seared, carefully remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside. Then add the fennel, onion and garlic to the pot and sauté until fragrant.
- Next add the stock and deglaze the pot, then mix in the tomato paste.
- Mix this around until the tomato paste is incorporated and then add the beets, stew meat and spice sachet.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. You can also cook on high for about 4 hours, but in our testing this doesn’t allow the flavor to develop quite as much and didn’t seem to yield as “rich” of a stew, compared to when it is cooked very gently over 6-8 hours.
- When the stew meat is tender it is ready to serve. Mix in the tablespoon of Kosher salt, being careful not to break up the meat and vegetables too much.
- Serve in warm bowls topped with a nice dollop of sour cream, freshly cracked black pepper and the fine herbs.
- This stew is delicious as is, but is also excellent served as leftovers simply ladled over rice or farro.