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Winter's Delight: Slow Cooker Hot and Hearty Stews

Updated on December 9, 2012

I love Stew, Do you love Stew too?

4 stars from 1 rating of Stew

Stick To Your Ribs Stews!

Nothings beats a great stew to warm and fill your belly on a snowy winter's day. Another one of the indispensable easy to throw together meals, just assemble in a slow cooker on low and arrive home to a great smelling home. And dinner's ready, oh miracle of weekday miracles!

Cook Time

Prep time: 35 min
Cook time: 8 hours
Ready in: 8 hours 35 min
Yields: 5 Quarts

Basics of Incredible Beef Stew

  • 3 lbs Cubed Beef Stew Meat
  • 3 Large Chopped or Diced Onions, (white or yellow, Vidalia if you like sweet onions)
  • 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4-1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper, Fresh Ground
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3-5 Cups Cooking Liquid (Wine, beef broth, water and dry soup packets combinations etc)
  • 2 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • 12 Ounces Fresh Mushrooms (halved, chopped or sliced), Button, Portabella, Oyster, pretty much whichever you like and have on hand
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Extra virgin, flavored with garlic and herbs, whatever you like and have on hand right? Discover!

When Veggies Attack

As you can see by my basic recipe for beef stew, I consider onions and mushrooms to be indispensable in stew, not all of the world feels the same of course and here we'll explore all the wonderful vegetable options that can fill out a wonderful hearty stew!

When adding vegetables to my basic recipe, the total of all the veggies should be around 1-2 lbs plus 4 large potatoes, cubed.

  • carrots (peeled and cut in 2" pieces), or whole baby carrots
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced or chopped
  • Pearl Onions if you did not opt to cook chopped onions in skillet, or if you really like onions, go for it! I
  • Bell Peppers Chopped (green, red, orange, yellow or a combo of)
  • Green Peas
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • Green Beans (canned, fresh or frozen)
  • Turnip, chopped rough
  • Eggplant, peeled and chopped
  • Zucchini, Chopped
  • Yellow or Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • Parsnips, peeled and sliced
  • Sweet Potatoes, chopped
  • Okra, sliced thick
  • Asparagus, cut into 1'' pieces
  • Cabbage, shredded or chopped
  • Corn: White, Yellow, Mixed
  • Green Chilies and Tomatoes, Ro-tel
  • Barley
  • Escarole, washed & torn into bite size pieces

Meat Options for Carnivorous Humans

A simple beef stew makes the cockles of my heart warm and fills the belly on a blistery winter night. Beef is however only one possible direction you may decide to take your stew in, if you so choose to include the meat in the first place of course. Stews can easily be made vegan as well if that your preference, another great benefit of the easy customization of this simple meal. Here, however we're going to bite into the meat of the meal so to speak. Enjoy.

  • Venison, cubed
  • Lamb, cubed 1" pieces or Ground if that's what you have, easy substitute, put meal into little balls and have lamb meatball stew :)
  • Portuguese Chourico Sausage, diced
  • Cubed Pork, boneless shoulder
  • Turkey, shredded
  • Chicken, roasted and shredded, cut into bite size chunks
  • Ham, Smoked and Chunked or shredded
  • And if you're going Veggie or Vegan (Substitude Beans, Tofu or Meatless Options) Easy.

Cooking Liquids and Flavorings

So you've got meat dredged and browned, veggies sauteed or chopped and ready, what magical substance will bind it all together into a yummy explosion on your tongue? Well what you are cooking with for one: beef broth, wine (what types matters as well), condensed soups, dry soup packets and water. Any herbs, seasonings and flavorings as well throw their spice ( I couldn't help myself :) into the dish as well. A little compilation I've put together to help you get started on your Stew Adventures!

  • Beef Broth, Beef Bouillon in Water, Beef Consomme Condensed Soups
  • French Onion Soup: dry or condensed versions
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Cider Vinegar
  • Apple Cider (alcoholic or not)
  • Golden Mushroom Condensed Soup, Dry Mushroom Soup mixes
  • Tomato Sauce (marinara, tomato paste & water, etc)
  • Italian Dressing or Seasoning
  • Ketchup
  • Majoram, Dried or Fresh
  • Bay Leaf
  • Rosemary, Dry or Fresh
  • Parsley, Dry or Fresh
  • Oregano, Dry or Fresh
  • Chicken or Vegetable Stock
  • Chunky Beef Stew Soup (hey if you're low on some ingredients its easy to beef it up :)
  • Grape Jelly (yes that's right, don't knock it til you've tried it)
  • V8 Vegetable Juice
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Soy Sauce
  • A1 Steaksauce (its a fridge staple in my house anyway)
  • Wine (red for red meat, wine for white usually go for the dry but whatever is on hand can be substituted with ease.

Basic Cooking Instructions

  1. Combine the flour, salt and whatever dry seasonings you like (garlic powder is tasty) and dredge your cubed stew meat. Fry in the olive oil over medium-high heat until all sides are browned and set aside in bowl.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer and melt the butter, then throw in celery, and onions (ANY vegetables you like of course you're welcome to use)
  3. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup wine or other cooking liquid when your veggies are tender, toss in the mushrooms and keep on low simmer so the flavor permeates the 'shrooms.
  4. When the mushrooms are soft, pour the whole mix in a slow cooker, along with your meat/protein option, raw veggies and other cooking liquids, add along any extra herbs, seasonings etc you would like a this point.
  5. Cook on LOW in a slow cooker for approximately 8-9 hours or until meat is tender or stew is cooked through. Enjoy with bread, salad, more vegetables, whatever but ENJOY!

The Nitty Gritty

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/10 of Pot
Calories 600
Calories from Fat297
% Daily Value *
Fat 33 g51%
Carbohydrates 46 g15%
Sugar 15 g
Fiber 6 g24%
Protein 30 g60%
Cholesterol 100 mg33%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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