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Peppery Beef Stew

  • February 10, 2021

Here in the Northeast U.S., we’ve been hit with winter’s full blast – more snow that I can remember in quite a few years, with still more expected in a few days. Lots of shoveling, but also lots of solid, comforting winter fare, like this beef stew recipe from Michele Scicolone in her cookbook, “The Italian Slow Cooker.”  The book is a gem, and in my case, really useful while my kitchen is undergoing a radical transformation. Cooking is relegated to another room in the house, where my table is set up with all manner of electric implements, from my rice cooker to my automatic polenta stirring pot.  You’d be surprised at how much cooking you can accomplish without an oven or a cooktop, as long as you’ve got electricity. Washing dishes and pots without a sink is another thing, but thankfully, my husband has become rather adept at bathroom sink dishwashing.

I’ve been using a hot plate to cook most meals, and had to rely on it to brown the meat and prepare the sauce for this stew, before dumping everything into my slow cooker. I bought an induction-heating hot plate and I have to say, it works really efficiently, heating things quickly — almost too quickly, as I found out this morning after burning some orange peels I was candying.

Anyway, back to the beef stew. After you brown the meat in a skillet, you add the rest of the ingredients (including a tablespoon of whole black peppercorns) and scrape up all those flavorful bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Then dump everything into the slow cooker and forget about it.

Come back 6-8 hours later, and you’ve got a delicious, fork-tender beef stew, ready to serve over noodles or rice.

Add a green vegetable on the side, and dinner is served.

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Peppery Beef Stew
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • 3 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 2 inch chunks (I used 1¼ lbs. beef cubes but all the rest of the proportions in the recipe for the sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup dry red wine, such as Chianti
  • 2 cups canned tomato puree (I used one 15-ounce can cherry tomatoes and ¼ cup water)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped, plus 6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
  1. On a piece of wax paper, stir together the flour and salt to taste.
  2. Toss the beef with the flour and shake off any excess.
  3. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the meat in batches, without crowding the pan.
  5. Brown the beef well on all sides.
  6. With a slotted spoon transfr the beef to a large slow cooker.
  7. Add the wine to the skillet and bring it to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan.
  8. Add the tomato puree (or the cherry tomatoes and water), garlic, peppercorns, and ground pepper.
  9. Cook for 10 minutes, orr until slightly thickened.
  10. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker.
  11. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until the beef is very tender.
  12. Taste for seasoning before serving.

Slow Cooker “Asian” Pot Roast

  • October 25, 2013

 For all you folks out there who say you don’t have time to cook, this one’s for you. All you need to do is to dump things in a slow cooker, turn on the heat and go away for the day – or even just half a day, if your slow cooker has a high setting. You’ll walk in the door to a great aroma and meat that’s fork tender and flavorful. My dad and his wife prepared this for me recently and even though it strays from my Italian-centric posts, it was so delicious I had to share.

Serve with noodles, or potatoes or rice.


Slow Cooker Asian Pot Roast
recipe from College Inn Chicken Broth
serves 4
2 cups beef broth
2 T. oyster sauce or soy sauce
2 T. minced garlic
2 T. minced fresh ginger
1/2 to 1 t. dried red pepper flakes, to taste
3 to 4 lb. boneless chuck roast, fat trimmed (my dad used a round roast)
3 T. cornstarch
3 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
1.  Combine broth, oyster sauce, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes in slow cooker. Add beef. Cut meat into two pieces, if needed, to fit into slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.
3. Remove meat from slow cooker, leaving cooking liquid in slow cooker. Keep meat warm while making sauce
4. Mix 3 T. cooking liquid with cornstarch in a small bowl; pour into slow cooker, whisking to blend evenly. Add green onions. Cook on high 5 to 10 minutes until slightly thickened. stir.
5. Serve sliced beef with sauce and either noodles, rice or mashed potatoes.