Beef stew is one of my ultimate comfort foods. I remember my dad making it in our ancient blue and white slow cooker decades ago, and how hard it was as a kid to be patient and wait for Sunday dinner when the house smelled so good all day long. After college, my dad gave me that same blue and white slow cooker when I got my first place, so I could carry on the tradition. (Although I still struggle with the whole “patiently waiting hours to eat” thing.)
This is the quintessential slow-cooker beef stew recipe. It’s warm and comforting—enough to make you almost forget about the polar vortex outside. And feel free to play with it a little! Normally I’d say don’t mess with what works, but with a base recipe this good, you’re pretty much guaranteed that any additions you make will still taste great.
Here's how I make it my own:
- Use fire-roasted diced tomatoes instead of regular for a subtle smoky flavor.
- Add a tablespoon each of minced garlic and dried thyme at the beginning for an old-fashioned, country-style taste.
- Serve in a bread bowl (like these easy cornbread biscuit bowls) for double the deliciousness.