February 27, 2011

Slow Cooker Beef and Mushroom Stew

I have said it before, and I will say it again: I love mushrooms. LOVE.

This stew is very beefy but also has a ton of mushrooms and is quite a crowd pleaser. I made this for Matthew and my 3rd annual Christmas Party as a step up from the Hungarian mushroom soup I made the prior two years. I wanted to make something I didn't have to hover over while getting ready for the party! I forgot to take pictures the first time but luckily I had a special request to make it again recently and made sure to document thoroughly. The recipe makes a ton of food, so serve it for a dinner party!

The recipe I used is from Sunset magazine and I found it on MyRecipes.com. I didn't follow the instructions to a T, mainly because I am a pretty lazy cook and look for shortcuts wherever I can.

This is a little more work than a normal slow cooker recipe, simply because you make a sauce to pour over the meat and cook the mushrooms separately. But don't be discouraged! The stew is definitely worth it. To make it easy on myself this last time, I made the sauce and poured it over the meat the night before and let it marinate all night in the refrigerator. In the morning before work, I turned the slow cooker on and when I got home from work I cooked the mushrooms. It worked out perfectly and made it seem like less work.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

-3 pounds boned, fat-trimmed beef chuck
-1 orange (2 1/2 in. wide), rinsed
-1 onion (about 8 oz.), peeled and finely chopped
-3 cloves garlic, chopped
-About 1 cup beef or chicken broth
-1 cup red wine
-1/2 cup port
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-2 tablespoons soy sauce
-1 teaspoon dried thyme
-5 very thin slices of peeled fresh ginger (quarter size)
-2 pounds mushrooms
-3 tablespoons butter
-1/4 cup flour
-Salt and (lots of) pepper

1. Rinse meat; cut into 3 to 4 inch lengths (for chuck, about 1 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches wide) and place in a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker.
2011-02-09 beef stew 004

2. With a vegetable peeler, pare orange part of peel from orange and sliver it; save orange for other uses.
2011-02-09 beef stew 006

3. In a 2-quart sauce pan, combine orange peel slivers, chopped onion, 1 cup broth, wine, port, vinegar, soy sauce, thyme, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat.
2011-02-09 beef stew 018

4. Pour liquid over meat. Turn slow cooker to low.
2011-02-10 beef stew 002

5. Put cover on slow cooker and cook on low until meat is very tender when pierced, 6 to 7 hours.

6. Rinse and drain mushrooms; trim off and discard stem ends. Cut mushrooms into quarters and place in a 12 inch frying pan with butter.
2011-02-10 beef stew 012

7. Skim off and discard fat from liquid in slow cooker. Ladle 1 cup of liquid from slow cooker into pan with mushrooms. Stir mushrooms often over high heat until liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are lightly browned, 13 to 17 minutes.
2011-02-10 beef stew 017

8. When your mushrooms are almost finished (liquid almost evaporated), eyeball the remaining liquid in the slow cooker. There should be plenty of liquid covering the meat, about 2 cups. If you think you don't have enough liquid, add some broth. You want the meat to still be covered with liquid. (Sorry I forgot to take a picture of this!)

9. Add the cooked mushrooms to the slow-cooker.

10. In a small bowl, mix flour with about a cup of the hot liquid from the slow cooker. Whisk vigorously until flour is dissolved. Pour evenly over meat and mix gently to blend with liquid still in slow cooker, trying not to break up the meat too much. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let the mushrooms and meat mingle together for about 20 minutes in slow cooker.

11. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or rice! (I prefer potatoes to rice, and haven't tried egg noodles but think it would be delicious!)
2011-02-10 beef stew 022