Tonight, I made a dinner that, I have to admit, was absolutely fantastic. I wish my stomach were bigger so I could hold more; that's how good it was. Jamie loved it, too. It was crock pot-ized beef stew. The beef was so tender it practically melted in my mouth. The vegetables had the perfect amount of "done-ness" and there was just enough spice to put a little bite in the taste, but not knock your taste buds off. I used what ingredients I had on hand and just added what looked to be the right amount. Sorry, no exact measurements in this recipe. I tend to ignore measurements and judge amounts by sight.
1 lb. stew meat, cut up into cubes
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
4-5 medium red potatoes, quartered
1/2 a small-sized bag of baby carrots
1 family-size can of cream of mushroom soup
Chicken broth (it's what I had; beef broth would have added a more beefy flavor)
Dried Fennel seed
Dried crushed Rosemary
Garlic powder (or cloves)
White wine (red wine would have added a more robust flavor, but I only had white)
Cooking spray or approx. 1 TBSP olive oil
In spray coated or oiled medium skillet over medium-high heat, add the stew meat. Generously coat the meat in black pepper, garlic powder, and rosemary. If you elect to use garlic cloves instead, you would add diced garlic cloves to the raw meat. Stir in pan to coat well. Keep stirring and tossing the meat until it is well browned.
Once meat is browned well, add about two cups of wine. Stir and allow to simmer for a few minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Add approximately 2 cups of broth. Lower heat to medium-low, stir well. Allow to simmer for a few minutes. Pour meat and any scrapings from the bottom of the pan into crock pot.
Dump onions, carrots and potatoes on top of meat. Pour can of cream of mushroom soup over the top. Add more broth or water to thin out the soup. Dump in some fennel seeds - probably about the equivalent of 1 TBSP. Add lid to crock pot and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours. After 5 hours have passed, use a dipper to pull out a few of the vegetables to check for doneness. In my case, the food was about perfect after the whole seven hours had passed.
I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. I have a feeling I'll be making this a lot this winter when the temperatures get chilly again!
*Note that there's no added salt in this recipe. Between the wine, the broth and the cream of mushroom soup, I figured there was already more than enough sodium in this recipe.
**If you've an allergy to mushrooms, cream of celery soup would work, too. It's hard to find a "family sized" can of cream of celery, so you may have to use two small cans, instead. I imagine this would also taste good with chicken breasts and cream of chicken soup, as well. I'll be doing lots of experimenting with slow cooker recipes as grad school continues, so I'll be sure to let you know!