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With these tips in mind, I'm also offering you a great recipe to take full advantage of your slow cooker and give you a chance to savor some of the flavors associated with the winter season as it gives way to spring. With a great meal like this hearty beef stew waiting for you at the end of a busy day, you might just smile the next time you think of winter ... as long as you have a slow cooker to help you through this season and the next!
Tender chunks of beef and vegetables are the perfect comfort food when swimming in a savory gravy that's been cooking all day long.
4-5 medium potatoes -- washed and cut into 1" chunks
3 carrots -- peeled and cut into 1" lengths
1 celery rib -- washed and cut into 1" lengths
2 T. cornstarch
1 envelope onion soup mix
2 lbs. beef stew meat
2 T. canola oil
1 medium onion -- coarsely chopped
1 1/2 c. water
1-2 T. grainy mustard
Place the prepared potatoes, carrots and celery in the bottom of a slow cooker, placing the potatoes down first and ending with the celery.
In a large bowl, combine the cornstarch and onion soup mix. Toss the stew meat with the cornstarch mixture and brown in two batches in a large skillet, using one tablespoon of oil for each batch. When the meat is browned, place it over the vegetables in the slow cooker. Layer the prepared onion over the top of the beef.
Add any remaining cornstarch mixture to the skillet and add the water and mustard. Stir to remove any browned bits in the pan and carefully pour the liquid over the contents of the slow cooker.
Cover the cooker and set on the HIGH setting for about 6 hours or the LOW setting for about 10 hours. Mix thoroughly before serving.
Yields: 8-10 servings
Preparation Time: 20 minutes hands-on plus 6-10 hours unattended cooking
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