Crockpot Beef Stew

Who doesn't love an All-American cold weather staple like beef stew? Gus and Buddy are big fans, and I must admit, I love a good hearty stew, too. This one is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Don't Panic - Dinner's in the Freezer.

I pretty much followed the recipe for this one - I used less onion, and left out the bay leaves and allspice - so I'm not going to post the exact recipe. I will tell you what it contains (some of the amounts are in the pictures):

beef, oil, water, lemon juice, Worchestershire sauce, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, sugar, paprika, carrots, potatoes, peas

Here's where the cool part comes in - I didn't serve this the day I made it. Instead, I froze it and served it the following week. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of it in the freezer bags, but I'm sure you'll get the idea.

I put a crockpot liner in a bowl that was a little smaller than my crockpot, then after the meat and broth cooled, I ladled them into the bag. I sat the bowl in the freezer until the meat & broth were solid enough to hold the round shape. I used canned potatoes and carrots, so I just put those in a quart-size freezer bag, in a bowl, and froze those until they held the round shape. Then I put the freezer bag of veggies inside the crockpot liner and fastened it tightly.

The night before I planned to serve the stew, I let the bag sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, I opened the bag, dumped the carrots & potatoes into the crockpot liner with the meat and broth, and put the crockpot liner in the crockpot.

I cooked it on high for 3 hours, then I added a cup of frozen peas, and cooked for 2 more hours. The broth was pretty runny (and very tasty!), and I like a thicker, gravy-type liquid on my stew. So I browned a little butter in a saucepan, added a TBSP. of flour, and stirred with a whisk until the flour was 'cooked'. I added a little of the broth from the stew, while stirring with the whisk, until I had a gravy-like consistency. Then I added the flour mixture to the stew and cooked for another hour.

Oh. My. Goodness. The meat was super tender, and everything had such a good flavor! I served it up with some warm rolls...yum!!

TIP: Instead of stew beef, I used beef that had been cut into strips for stir-fry. So much more tender and flavorful!

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