Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Slow Cooker Beef Stew - Prepped the Night Before

Ya wanna know what I adore about this recipe?  Well, of course, the first thing is that it is absolutely delicious!  But, there's a second (and maybe equally as awesome) aspect that I love.  The stew is all made in advance the night before you plan to cook it!  I know ... super fabulous, right?

It is prepped at night, thrown in the fridge and all you have to do is turn on the slow cooker in the morning.  I love that!  It means I don't have to be standing over the stove browning and searing the meat when I've barely had my first cup of coffee in the morning!  It means I don't have to wash and cut potatoes in my jammies before the sun is barely up.  It, also, means that I wake up to having no dishes to face bright and early and no work to really be done for this recipe!  Wohoo!

I went to bed with the kitchen all cleaned up and woke up being able to enjoy a care-free morning ... all while knowing dinner was taken care of.  I mean, how hard is it to set the insert into the slow cooker, dump in the already-prepped potatoes (more on that later), set the slow cooker for eight hours and walk away?

(Okay, so maybe I've had some mornings when those few, basic tasks would have seemed impossible, but that was probably back in my early-twenties ... and we won't go there.  I will tell ya that I probably wasn't prepping beef stew the night before either!)

The fact that it is pretty darn cold here in Michigan this week completely justifies some type of stew or soup simmerin' away in the slow cooker all day!  Another bonus - my son's fifth grade music program was the night we had this stew, so having dinner all ready to go meant less chaos in my house on a busy evening!

Isn't he such a handsome, little man?  Here he is just before leaving for his concert ...

A quick note ... I use a combination of beef and chicken stock in my stew.  If you'd like, you can use just beef stock or broth.

And, of course, this can be put together in the morning on the day you plan to eat it.  If doing so, just follow the directions all of the way through from start to finish.


1/2 - 1 pound beef stew meat (mine was about 3/4 of a pound)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon seasoning salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 large onion, diced
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 - 3 cups stock or broth (depends on how big your potatoes - I use around 2 - 2 1/2 cups)
2 beef bouillon cubes
6 potatoes, washed and cut into chunks (you can leave the peel on or remove - your preference)
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 stalk celery, diced
Handful of button mushrooms, washed (these can be left whole, cut in half or sliced - your preference)
1/2 - 1 cup frozen peas (optional)
Shake the beef stew meat in a re-sealable plastic bag with the flour and seasoning salt until evenly coated. Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Add the floured stew meat to the pan and brown on all sides.
Remove using tongs. Place into the bottom of your slow cooker. Season with pepper.

Saute the diced onion and mushrooms in the same hot skillet for a couple of minutes.  Don't worry about cleaning the pan out in between - that's added flavor!  If needed, drizzle in a little more oil to the pan.
Transfer into the slow cooker.

Pour into the pan the Worcestershire sauce and broth/stock.  Add in bouillon cubes.  Whisk until mixed ... making sure you scrape up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan.  Simmer until bouillon cubes dissolve.  Turn off the heat and set aside.  Allow to cool while you prep the other veggies.
Add the carrots, celery and bay leaves to the slow cooker. 

Now, pour the broth/Worcestershire mixture into the slow cooker, as well.  Combine.

If you're making this the night before, this is when you'd place the entire slow cooker insert (with lid on) in the fridge.  (Say goodnight, beautiful stew-in-the-making!)
I keep my potatoes separate overnight by submerging them in cold water (after washing and cubing) in a large bowl and covering.  (I find that if I add them to the slow cooker with everything else overnight, they become overly discolored from the brown liquid.)
Do not add peas, if using, the night before.
In the morning, drain water from potatoes and add them into the slow cooker.  You can add in peas at this point, if using, or wait until the last couple of hours of cooking (this retains a little more of their freshness and color).

Push the potatoes down into the liquid as much as possible with a spoon when you begin cooking.  You don't want them to oxidize from not being submerged.

Cook stew on low for 8 hours.  Remove the bay leaves before serving.  Taste and adjust seasoning ... you may find you want a little salt added or more pepper.  If you find that you'd like your liquid a little thicker at serving time, you can always mix a little cornstarch with water and blend it into the liquid.

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  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Maria! :) It is a fabulous stew! And, so great that it can be made the night before!

  2. Great recipe! Thank you so much.
    Eric - Fargo, ND

  3. Fantastic! I can't wait to try your other recipes. My friends are going to be hearing a lot of good things about Joyously Domestic!

    1. Thank you ... and I am glad that you enjoyed the recipe, Michal. :)

  4. How do you store & reheat the next evening if you cook overnight?

    1. I don't cook the stew overnight. Everything is just prepped and assembled the nite prior. It still gets cooked in the slow cooker all day the next morning. :)

  5. Hi! was wondering when you combine the chicken and beef broth. what amounts do you use of each? Thanks:)

    1. I like half and half, but I have used all beef just fine, too.