Just thinking about stew gives us the warm fuzzy feelings inside. It’s the kind of food that sticks to your ribs, keeps you cozy like a big sweater on a chilly day and doesn’t take much to turn into a hearty, filling meal for the whole family.
Unlike soup, stew is defined more narrowly: It’s almost always served warm, tends to be thick with chunky with larger-cut ingredients and usually benefits from a longer cook time. A stew’s meat or vegetables are barely covered with cooking liquid (usually water, broth or stock, oftentimes enhanced by wine or beer for additional flavor) and, during cooking, the liquid reduces to a gravy-like base that is sometimes thickened by flour, cornstarch or a roux.
Like soup, stew can be made on the stove, in the slow cooker or in the Instant Pot®. It can be made just before serving, prepped and refrigerated ahead of time or frozen and stocked for whenever you need a cozy meal.
Stews can benefit from a secondary serving component—such as mashed potatoes, noodles or rice—but they also taste delightful on their own. In the case of our popular Dump-It Slow-Cooker Beef Stew, everything cooks in the slow cooker and preps in just 5 minutes so you can have a hearty bowl of yums with minimal effort.
What you’ll need:
- 6-quart slow cooker
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Small mixing bowl
- Whisk or fork
- 2 lb beef stew meat, chopped
- 1 package (1.5 oz) beef stew seasoning mix
- 1 bag (12 oz) frozen mixed vegetables (preferably with onions)
- 14 oz baby yellow potatoes
- 8 oz baby-cut carrots
- 1 carton (32 oz) Progresso™ beef flavored broth
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
First, spray slow cooker insert with cooking spray. In slow cooker, place the stew meat, beef stew seasoning mix, frozen vegetables, baby yellow potatoes, baby-cut carrots and beef broth. Stir to combine. Cover and cook everything on High heat 5 to 6 hours (or Low heat 8 to 10 hours).
Before serving, transfer 1/2 cup of the stew broth into a small bowl and beat with flour, using whisk, until smooth. Pour back into the stew and stir until the mixture is thickened.