I am always looking for a quick, easy, crockpot recipe. I found a recipe for “poor man’s stew” courtesy of The magical slow cooker website. She got her inspiration for the recipe from The Princess Bride-this is the stew Fezzic fed Montoya to sober him up.
As always, I put my own spin and modifications on this recipe. Still, it couldn’t be any simpler, but anyone who eats this will think you spent all day in the kitchen. To quote my husband “what did you use in the gravy?” I don’t think he ever asked me this. He said “the gravy makes it”. And it’s even better the second day.
Here is the original recipe:
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1.5 lbs potatoes, diced large
3 carrots, sliced
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced (I had this on hand already)
1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
Add the cooked ground beef, potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic to a 5-quart or larger slow cooker.
In a small bowl whisk together the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and oregano. Pour this mixture over everything in the slow cooker. Stir.
Cover and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours, without opening the lid during the cooking time.
Serve with buttered sandwich bread.
Here is how I modified the recipe:
I cooked the ground beef in a frying pan until almost completely browned. I didn’t want it to be super dried out after cooking in the crockpot. I also used a crockpot liner, but this is optional. Make sure to drain the grease off the ground beef. I always use 80/20 fat to lean ratio. Anything else will be dry-but that’s up to your personal taste.
I peeled about six good size yukon gold potatoes, but I cut them smaller than called for in the recipe. The smaller the potato pieces, the faster this will cook.
I used baby carrots here. I just didn’t feel like peeling and cutting carrots, but you can certainly do so.
I left out the garlic clove and used garlic salt. I did use the onion.
I used Mrs. Dash Italian blend in the cooked ground beef, and also sprinkled over the vegetables in the crockpot. I added a bit of salt also. Again, use the herbs you like and the amount of salt you like.
I pretty much dumped the beef and vegetables into the crock pot. I used beef broth instead of water, and whisked it together with the can of tomato paste, then poured it over the beef and veggies. I cooked on low for about 4 1/2 hours. The potatoes were done at that point. I kept it on warm for about an hour and a half after that. There is plenty of liquid in this recipe. Resist the urge to add more, or you will have soup instead of stew. The potatoes will thicken the liquid as they cook.
You can also cook this in a dutch oven on the stove top, but keep it on a low simmer. This recipe can be modified to use any vegetables or ground meat you like. This made about four moderate servings. If you are feeding a hungry crowd, double the recipe. One pound of ground beef will not feed a large crowd. I concur about the buttered bread! I did, of course, use gluten free. I had an udi’s dinner roll and it was delicious.
The fact that my husband raved about this recipe says everything. I would make it again in a heartbeat!