Last weekend I went wedding dress shopping all day on Saturday with my mom, sister, and future mother-in-law. What a wonderful day! And yes, I found a dress. ;) Why am I telling you this? Well, since I knew we were going to be gone all day, I thought it would be the perfect day to have dinner slowly cooking in the crock pot all day so that we could have a yummy meal waiting for us when we got home (and so that the house would smell delicious too!). I figured we'd be much too tired from dress shopping to cook. And I was right; wedding dress shopping is exhausting! But it's also super fun. :-D
I found this recipe for Apple Cider Beef Stew in one of my cookbooks specifically dedicated to slow cooker recipes. Now that the weather is getting colder, I've been thinking about using my crock pot much more often but just hadn't gotten around to it yet. I'm glad I finally did use it with this recipe! It was a great recipe to start off crock pot "season."
-2 lbs. stew beef
-8 large carrots
-6 medium potatoes (I used red potatoes)
-2 apples (you can use whatever kind you have on hand! I think I used Macintosh)
-1 small onion (I used a yellow onion)
-thyme and other herbs you like (I also added herbs de provence)
-2 cups apple cider
Cut the beef into 1/2-inch cubes. Peel and slice the carrots and potatoes (I cut mine into about 1/2-inch pieces - and I actually did not peel my red potatoes). Also cut the apples into 1/2-inch pieces. I left the skins on the apples but you could peel them if you wanted. Finely chop the onion.
Place the carrots, potatoes, and apples in the crock pot. Add the beef, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme, and onions. Pour the cider over top. Cover and cook on low setting for 10 - 12 hours. Makes approximately 8 - 10 servings.
Serve hot and enjoy!
I didn't list an amount for the spices/herbs because I think you can just eyeball how much you add. My guess is that I added about 3 teaspoons total of the various dried herbs and maybe about 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper? Sorry - I didn't measure!
Along with our yummy stew, I served some deeelicious bread from When Pigs Fly, one of my favorite bread bakeries. This particular bread was their baby spinach, onion, and garlic ciabatta. Sooo flavorful! I am lovin' that there's a When Pigs Fly in the town where I live, but my wallet and waistline aren't as happy about it. ;)
Back to the stew... This was a very tasty, hearty, comforting dish - just what you want when it comes to beef stew! The apple cider was detectable and added a unique flavor. And the apples added a bit more nutrition too! All in all, this dish was a winner.
Yay for crock pot cooking!