One of the most common meals to make using a slow cooker is beef stew, and for good reason – the long, slow cooking time does a brilliant job of it, allowing the cook to use inexpensive cuts of beef, whose tough connective tissues break down over the course of several hours on low heat. There aren’t many more welcome aromas at the end of a long, cold fall day then a rich, dark, wine-spiked beef stew ready for you to curl up and eat. With the rest of that bottle of wine you used in the dish, of course. (If you don’t want to use wine, feel free to swap it for more stock.) If you don’t have a slow cooker yet, we’re giving away a brand-new Crock Pot 6 Qt Oval Countdown Slow Cooker here!
Daube is a classic French stew made with cubed beef braised in wine, vegetables, garlic, and herbes de Provence. It could be easily transformed into a lamb daube by replacing the beef with a 2 lbs cubed boneless leg of lamb. Traditionally, a lamb daube is made with white wine instead of red – either works deliciously. Alternatively, swap it for a cup of stock or apple juice.
The beef in this dark, rich, French-style dish is given a wonderful flavor even before it makes it into the slow cooker. After slices of garlic are cooked until golden in a skillet and removed, the beef is seared in the remaining oil and infused with a divine, garlicky taste. Reprinted with permission from Everyone Can Cook Slow Cooker Meals by Eric Akis (Whitecap Books).
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Slow cooker time: 6–8 hours
Makes: 4–6 servings
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, halved and thinly sliced
2 lb boneless chuck or blade steak, cut into 1 1/2-inch (4 cm) cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 large onion, diced
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock
1 cup red wine
1 14 oz (398 mL) can diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
pinch ground cloves
chopped fresh parsley, to taste
Place the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-low to medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until lightly golden and aromatic, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Lift the garlic out of the skillet with a slotted spoon and set it in your slow cooker.
Return the skillet to the stovetop and increase heat to medium-high. Season the beef with salt and pepper, then sear in batches, setting the browned pieces in your slow cooker as you go.
Add the carrot and onion to the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes more. Slowly, while stirring, mix in the stock. Mix in the wine, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme and cloves and bring to a simmer. Pour this mixture over the beef and stir to combine. Cover and cook on the low setting for 6 to 8 hours, or until the beef is very tender. Sprinkle servings with chopped parsley.
Photo credit: from Everyone Can Cook Slow Cooker Meals by Eric Akis (Whitecap Books)