No-fail easiest Beef Stew ever!
Feels like we’re in limbo, this MCO (movement control order). While some people get back to basics and unleash their inner chef, others are running out of ideas of what to cook.
Frankly, after practically living in the kitchen these past few weeks, I opted for food delivery for a change, and also to support our local hawkers and coffeeshops. Maaaan, streetfood have never tasted so GOOD! But then again, the MSG, the extra salt and extra oil, also tasted so much more apparent as our tastebuds had gotten used to homecooked food which is generally healthier.
Well, here’s one recipe that’s guaranteed to turn out, even if you feel you can’t cook to save your life. All you need is a slow cooker to wake up to a delicious pot of goodness the next day.
My recipe is a cross between a Western stew and Chinese braised (thick soy sauce) beef. If you try this out often enough, you’ll probably be able to further fine tune the recipe to your own liking. If you can’t get your hands on the Western herbs, it’s OK though they do add toward a more robust and flavoursome stew.
1kg stew beef (with streaks of fat, cut into 4cm chunks)
1 big onion (cut into 4)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped small
3 stalks of celery
1 small (white) Chinese radish
1 large tomato (diced into 4)
750ml beef broth or beef stock
2 tablespoons thick soy sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Salt and sugar to taste
1 stick cinnamon
2 star of anise, 5 cloves, 2 bay leaves
Mixed herbs or rosemary or thyme
Most recipes call for you the garlic and onion to be tossed around in a tablespoon of oil in a separate pan for about a minute or two. Then, brown the beef which has been rubbed with salt and pepper lightly and set aside.
But I’m going to suggest a shortcut here. True chefs will admonish me but I feel it doesn’t really make a huge difference or affect the taste drastically. Besides, I’m too lazy to wash that extra pan. So, throw in the garlic, onion and then, the beef into the slow cooker directly.
Cut all the veggie into large cubes and add them in on top of the beef. Pour in the beef broth. Add in the remaining ingredients (except the salt and sugar), give it a good stir to mix things up, turn on the slow cooker and leave it on for about 6 hours or overnight.
Next up, add salt and sugar to taste. Pour the stew into another pot and heat up over the stove for about 15 to 20 minutes to reduce the gravy. And there, you’ve got your one pot meal!
Some people like to add cornflour to thicken the stew but I don’t really like the starchy end result. Besides, the extra gravy is always welcome in my home as the boys love to soak their bread in it.
I’ve got another recipe which I usually use when I have guests over that involves red wine, but that’s a different story.
Tip: it’s really not that different as it involves popping the stew into the oven for a few hours, and adding the wine midway to give it more oomph!