The Arizona Republic (2024)

Robin Miller| Special for the Republic

Question: Why is my Crock-Pot beef stew a disaster? I am trying it again today for a second time, and it just doesn't look right. It's got a lot of liquid, and the liquid is kind of pale. In the pot is cubed roast, carrots, potatoes, onion, celery, tomato juice, diced tomatoes, beef broth, salt, pepper and basil. Is there a trick to making beef stew?

Robin's Rescue: Beef stew is fabulous — but only if it's thick and hearty. I have a solution to your problem. First, I think you're adding too much liquid, and it's not simmering down to a rich, deep-colored stew. Don't forget, the veggies give off liquid too. Since you're adding tomatoes, use tomato paste instead of tomato juice and diced tomatoes — that will help thicken the mixture and create a deeper color. Also, I suggest adding a little flour-water mixture 30 minutes before serving, to make sure the sauce reaches a gravy-like consistency. Check out my recipe and I'm certain your problem will be solved.

Hearty Slow Cooker Beef Stew

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika, regular or smoked (depending on the flavor you want in the end)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into bite-size pieces

3 cups cubed Yukon gold or red potatoes

2 cups baby carrots or chopped whole carrots

1 cup chopped yellow onion

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 cups beef broth

6-ounce can tomato paste

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional

In a shallow dish, combine the onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add the beef and toss to coat the meat with the spices. Place the meat in the bottom of a slow cooker (preferably 6-quart). Sprinkle over any spices that may have fallen off the meat. Add the potatoes, carrots, onion and celery.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the beef broth, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Pour the mixture over the beef and vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours, or on high for 6-8 hours.

Thirty minutes before serving, whisk together the flour and water. Add the mixture to the slow cooker and mix well to combine. (This is when you also add frozen corn and green peas to the stew, if desired). Cover and cook for 30 more minutes, until the sauce thickens. Ladle the stew into shallow bowls and top with the parsley.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition expert Robin Miller of Scottsdale tackles your food and dining dilemmas. Her cookbooks include "Robin Takes 5 for Busy Families" and "Quick Fix Meals," named after her five-year run on Food Network.

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