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Crockpot Beef Stew

Crockpot Beef Stew combines fall-apart tender beef with sweet juicy carrots and a luxuriously rich gravy base. And the "secret" ingredient that takes this stew to the next level? We replace the typical potatoes found in beef stew with a package of gnocchi -- light potato dumplings that are soft, delicate, and have a silky-smooth texture. You'll never want to have beef stew any other way!
Course Dinner, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword beef stew, Crockpot Beef Stew
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 9 hours
Total Time 9 hours 40 minutes
Servings 10 -12 servings
Calories 420kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $17.56

Equipment

  • 6 quart slow cooker
  • Skillet or pot -- cast iron preferred

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • 2 and 1/2 lbs. beef chuck roast, cut into 1-2 inch cubes (bite-sized pieces)
  • Fine sea salt & pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, diced (1-1/2 cups 210g)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (35g) white flour
  • 1/2 cup (119g) red wine or extra beef stock Note 1
  • 2 cups (453g) beef stock Note 2
  • 2 cups (305g) baby carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 4 stalks celery, sliced (~1 and 3/4 cups (220g))
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.; 411g) fire-roasted diced tomatoes undrained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 package (16 oz.; 453g) gnocchi (miniature or regular-sized) Note 3
  • Optional, for serving: fresh thyme or flat-leaf Italian parsley, crusty warmed bread

Instructions

  • PREP: Cut the beef chuck roast into 1-2-inch cubes and set aside. Toss beef cubes with salt and pepper to taste; I add 2 teaspoons fine sea salt and 1-1/2 teaspoons pepper.
  • SEAR BEEF: Heat a large cast iron pot or regular pot on high (cast iron is best!) Add in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once the pot is hot, add a single, spaced-out layer of cubed beef pieces (don't overcrowd the beef, so we can get a nice sear. That char = flavor!). Sear beef for about 2 minutes per side (Don't stir the beef around, simply leave it in one spot and then, using tongs, flip it to the other side after about 2 minutes -- it should release and be very easy to flip). Sear beef in batches adding extra olive oil if needed. Once a batch is seared, remove it with tongs into a bowl and set aside for now.
  • GRAVY: Do not wash out the pot -- we've got loads of flavor here! Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add in the diced onions and cook, stirring constantly, for 4-6 minutes, or until beginning to soften, scraping up the browned bits in the pot as you stir the onions. Then add in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add in the butter and allow to melt. While whisking constantly, add in the flour and, whisking constantly, cook for 1 minute. Pour in the wine (or stock if using) while whisking constantly until you get a thick sludge and the liquid has reduced. Then add in the beef stock, gradually, while whisking constantly. Simmer over low heat until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and scrape every bit of this mixture into the slow cooker.
  • SLOW COOKER: While you're working on the beef or gravy, add the remaining ingredients to a 6-quart slow cooker: the halved baby carrots, sliced celery, fire-roasted diced tomatoes (don't drain), tomato paste, dried parsley, dried thyme, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar. Add in the set-aside beef and any accumulated juices. Give everything a good stir and submerge the beef pieces under the liquid.
  • COOK: Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 6-7 hours. (I highly recommended cooking on low.)
  • GNOCCHI: About 20 minutes prior to serving, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the potato gnocchi according to package directions (~2-3 minutes). Drain and set aside. Don't rinse under cold water.
  • FINISHING: Give the stew a good stir and taste for additional seasonings if needed (salt, pepper -- I typically add another 1/4 teaspoon each) even an extra pinch of sugar goes a long way! Serve the stew in bowls and stir in a few spoonfuls of gnocchi into each bowl. Garnish with fresh thyme or parsley (if using) and serve with crusty warmed bread!

Notes

Note 1: Red wine: Red wine really adds a layer of complexity to this recipe. If you want to use red wine in this recipe, I recommend pinot noir, merlot, or Sangiovese. Stay away from the sweet reds and try one of the medium- or full-bodied dry red wines. Most of the alcohol cooks out, but there will be trace amounts left in any cooked food. If you prefer not to cook with wine, beef stock is a good substitute.
Note 2: Beef stock: Stock is a richer liquid than broth. It's made by simmering bones, vegetables, herbs, and spices in water for hours until the flavor can be extracted (broth uses water simmered with meat). Stock has a richer and deeper flavor than broth and it is a key to the flavor of this stew. Swanson® beef stock (regular, not low sodium) is our favorite in this recipe!
Note 3: Gnocchi: To decide what gnocchi to purchase, here is a list of the top sellers on Amazon and a list of taste tester's favorites. My local grocery store doesn't have a huge selection, but Gia Russa® Gnocchi is typically my go-to brand. Instead of mixing all of the cooked gnocchi into the stew, we prefer to keep them separate and add a handful of gnocchi to individual bowls. This is because gnocchi will continue to take on liquid and become bloated or disintegrate when stored in the liquid making leftovers less pleasant.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 420kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 484mg | Potassium: 665mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 6864IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 5mg