Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mega-veggie freezer beef stew

The finished product!
Photo via onceamonthmom.com; not my recipe.
I love make-ahead freezer recipes that require no pre-cooking and little prep. I was inspired by this recipe for freezer beef stew. I love that you can just toss all the ingredients in a gallon bag and then dump it in the crock pot the day you are ready to eat. I didn't snap my own picture with everything in the bag, but I snagged a shot of the inspiring recipe and included that. To make this a one-dish meal, I packed it with veggies: rutabaga, parsnips, carrot, mushrooms, and hearty winter greens. I think that cut string beans would have worked too, but I forgot to buy them, oops.

I added a tablespoon of arrowroot at the end for thickening. You won't get the rich gravy that you see with a flour-based roux, but this was a way to minimize the starch and keep it grain-free.

I never bother thawing anything before putting it in the crock pot, I just increase cooking time. You just have to make sure to stir it after a couple hours to break everything up. Everything was in a big frozen mass when I initially dumped it in the crock pot. I cut away the bag on the sides to get it out more easily. I cut everything into fairly large chunks to avoid overcooking.

All in all, a great emergency dinner to keep on hand, particularly now that the weather is cooler!

MEGA-VEGGIE FREEZER BEEF STEW
Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS
  • About 2.5 lbs beef stew meat, or a beef roast cut into chunks
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed 
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 oz baby portobello mushrooms, quartered OR 4 oz portobello mushroom caps, cut into chunks
  • Half a large rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Half a bag of frozen diced onion, unthawed, OR 1 large onion, diced,
  • 8 oz frozen chopped winter greens (I used collard greens), unthawed
  • 1 Tbs arrowroot or tapioca starch 
  • 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS
  1. In a small bowl, thoroughly combine the soy sauce (or alternative), thyme, tomato paste, and garlic.
  2. Put the beef chunks in the bottom of a large zipper close bag and pour the soy sauce mixture over it. Toss to combine. Add all of the vegetables. Seal and freeze until ready to cook.
  3. The morning that you want to eat the stew, dump the contents of the freezer bag into your slow cooker. Pour the can of beef broth over it, season with salt and pepper, and cook on low for about 8-9 hours or until beef is tender. Stir once after a couple hours. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper, if desired. Stir in the tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
  4. Put the arrowroot or tapioca in a small heatproof bowl. Gradually whisk in a ladle of hot broth from the stew (about 1/4 cup), ensuring that there are no lumps. Add the starch/broth mixture back to the slow cooker with the stew and stir to combine. Serve.

6 comments:

iris murasaki said...

Looks fantastic--I love many of your recipes. I would probably take this out of the freezer the night before & put it in the fridge, then put it in the crock in the morning.

Erica said...

Thanks iris! If you thaw it, I would probably reduce the total cooking time :)

dsharp88 said...

Made this today and it was great!

Erica said...

dsharp88, glad you liked it!

Anonymous said...

How much broth is in a can? I know, stupid question but locally I can only really find it in cartons (like juice boxes) and I'm not sure that the carton I have is enough

Keet said...

This is my new favorite blog. Thank you for all the great recipes. Love your no nonsense prepare ahead of time approach & am thrilled to find someone who shares my love of the crockpot. I will be lurking around here a lot now. Love your blog, thanks for sharing.

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