How did the third trimester get here already?
While there haven’t been a ton of posts here lately, the Freezer Nesting mission has continued. How about a catch-up?
When we left off, I had stashed a whopping 12 meals (or meal starters) in the chest freezer. Since then, I’ve put away another dozen, bringing us tantalizingly close to my goal for 30 meals to launch us into our expanded family a few months from now. Let’s take the next week to recap what else has been stashed in the freezer, and continue on from there. Starting with…
Slow Cooker Hearty Beef Stew
Beef stew, with those fall-apart chunks of meat swimming in harmony with tender bites of root vegetables, is made even lovelier with a crusty slice of homemade bread or using a piping-hot popover to wipe up the last remaining bit of broth from the bowl. On one of those days when the impulse to bake bread strikes, it will be all the easier to grab a pouch of this stew from the freezer to thaw while making the bread dough. And a homemade supper is already halfway done.
(From America’s Test Kitchen’s “Slow Cooker Revolution” cookbook)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 onions, minced
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus extra as needed
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 (4-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
- salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes (4 to 5 medium), scrubbed and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 pound carrots (about 6), peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced 1 inch thick
- 2 cups frozen peas
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, tomato paste, garlic and thyme and cook until onions are softened and slightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps; transfer to slow cooker.
Stir in beef broth, soy sauce, and bay leaves.
Season beef with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker.
Toss potatoes and carrots with remaining tablespoon oil, season with salt and pepper, and wrap in foil packet.
Lay foil packet on top of stew. Cover and cook until beef is tender, 9 to 11 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.
Transfer foil packet to plate. Let stew settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat using large spoon. Discard bay leaves. Carefully open foil packet (watch for steam), and stir vegetables with any accumulated juices into stew.
Stir in peas and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes. (Adjust stew consistency with additional hot broth as needed.) Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Once I added the peas, I turned off the slow cooker to let the mixture cool for a bit. I then portioned the stew into three packets, sealed and labeled them, and into the freezer they went…
This was the recipe that put us at the halfway mark of the goal – a good day! And better still: this is a simple thaw-and-reheat dish that doesn’t need anything more done to it (other than that crusty bread I was talking about earlier). This will be great for one of those “wormhole” days when you wake up to a baby needing your undivided attention and suddenly another person in the house is asking what’s for dinner.