Weekend cooking: Slow cooker beef stew


Ah there is nothing like the smell of beef searing in the morning.

Yeah that’s probably a bit much for 810 on Tuesday. But it was the best time for me to be searing beef for stew! The kids were fed and playing happily (for a while at least) and there was a little time before Wee Reader needed to be dropped off at preschool, so it was on the stove with the pot, on with the fire, and in with some olive oil. The beef cubes had been defrosting in the fridge overnight. And I seasoned some salt and pepper, and dusted the beef with some flour. When the oil was hot, in went the beef to sear on all sides, and when that was done, off the cubes went into the slow cooker.

I poured into the pot some beef stock (I use Better than Bouillon – and opening that beef stock jar always makes me think of being a kid in Singapore and eating rice porridge or congee with some Bovril stirred in, and some pork floss on top). And then some sliced onion and a few cloves of garlic. And kind of scraped the wooden spoon around a bit to get all that good beef-y stuff stuck on the bottom.

And then of course Wee Reader comes around asking for me to play with him.

I let him have a peek at dinner and a promise to play in a bit.

So in the slow cooker went the beef, onion, garlic and all that yummy liquid. Then added a couple of bay leaves, some star anise and a piece of cinnamon bark. A little soy sauce and five spice powder went in too. As did a few tablespoons of tomato paste. I guess you could say that it’s a little bit Asian, a little bit Western, especially with the addition of shiitake mushrooms (later, with the potatoes, celery and carrots).

And we were ready! Well, ready to stew for many hours on the low setting, and ready to get the kids in the car to drop Wee Reader off at preschool, that is!

Asian-ish slow cooker beef stew is best enjoyed with some basmati rice, we reckon, cooked with a little bit of spices and some raisins, and topped with some fresh cilantro.


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    1. Well I used one piece of cinnamon bark and it was about an inch long. And slightly over two star anise (I had two broken pieces and they were each a bit bigger than half).


    2. As for the five spice, maybe about a teaspoon or two. I guess it depends on whether you like it to taste more of all these spices. If you want it to be more “Asian” style, add some soy sauce (2 TSP) and some oyster sauce (1 TSP). You could even add some sliced ginger too.


      1. Oh okay! Thanks for the tips! When I make beef stew, I usually just add black pepper, sea salt, a little cumin, celery seed, and thyme. It’s nice to try something new. Will let you know how it turns out.


  1. Of course beef stew is fab… but even better is the memory of congee with pork floss! Congee is one of the things my mum can make well, and her secret is dried scallops – they make it all rich and deep in flavour.

    My mum’s family doesn’t have the stuck to the bottom of the pan culture, but my dad says that was definitely the best bit!


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