Spiced Beef & Vegetable Stew with Toast
Crockpots are probably one of my favorite inventions. Ever.
The idea that I can make a whole lot of something extra scrumptious with minimal effort is like a dream come true. 6+ hours after I begin, I have 5 days worth of food and only like 3 dishes, which is seriously appealing. And I don't even have to be in the same building as the pot (although let's be honest, I have zero patience. I'm constantly sniffing above the Crockpot and messing with it's contents throughout cook-time).
Crockpots are even more appealing now that I'm back in my university-owned apartment, where (for some inexplicable reason) there is no dishwasher. I painted my nails a pretty pink color called "Got Myself in a Jam-balaya," and I sure hope my kitchen sink enjoys wearing the polish more than I did, because sadly, that's where most of it ended up a mere day later. Life is once again feeling like a never ending saga of dishwashing, dishwashing, dishwashing, so anything that requires fewer dishes than I have fingers (or fingernail polish) on one hand has crazy wow factor.
I low-key feel like a witch when I'm cooking with a Crockpot. Yes, a little bit of the Halloween-style witch, as I chop things with a knife and throw various ingredients into a steaming pot, stirring with my spoon and cackling evilly to myself in my kitchen (not really, I rarely cackle)--but really, more like a Molly Weasley-style witch. I took the Myers-Briggs personality test once, and they told me that I was in the same personality type as Molly Weasley. I take that as a compliment, because that's one badass momma witch, and I don't use that term lightly.
I think Molly would love cooking in a Crockpot, mostly because of the equation: [cozy smells + cozy feelings x lots of food = Crockpots]. Out of everywhere in the Harry Potter universe, the Weasley house is probably the coziest, and you know how I feel about being cozy (aka, LOVE IT). So I guess what I'm getting at in this disjointed rant I'm calling a post, is that if you want to be like Molly Weasley (and you do), get thy to a Crockpot.
And I just so happen to have a yummy Crockpot recipe for you right here, called Spiced Beef & Veggie Stew. With toast! Because buttered toast makes everything better, especially when you get to dip it in tomatoey stew. I like this recipe because 1) I get to go ham with my spice cabinet, which is my favorite, and 2) it's got just the right ratio of crunch and smooth and starch and protein. Plus, I just feel more balanced when I eat it, due in large part to the high volume of vegetables. I also feel medieval, but that's consistent with any time I eat stew. Stew just seems medieval to me--feel free to disagree, but be forewarned: I may down a week's worth of Spiced Beef & Vegetable stew and then challenge you to a jousting match to prove my point. Huzzah. :)
Spiced Beef & Vegetable Stew with Toast
Takes: 6-8 hours (20 mins. prep., 5&1/2+ hours to cook)
Makes: 5-7 servings (depending on how big your servings are)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 onion
- 1 bell pepper
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 jar spaghetti sauce
- 3&1/2 cups water
- 1 package mixed frozen vegetables
- 1 can corn
- 1 can diced tomatoes with jalapeños
- 3 russet potatoes
- 1 tsp. Better than Bouillon Beef Base
- 1 Tbsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1 tsp. rosemary (optional)
- 1 tsp. crushed red hot chili pepper flakes (optional)
- Salt and black pepper
- Wash and dry vegetables. Dice onion and bell pepper.
- Put skillet on stove and pour olive oil in. Sauté vegetables at medium heat for 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally with a spatula.
- While vegetables are cooking, clean and peel potatoes, and then chop into wedges about 1 square inch in size (Clarification: they don't have to be perfect squares.)
- Add ground beef to the skillet and cook until browned and crumbled, about 7-9 minutes, stirring with the spatula the whole time to ensure it cooks completely. In the last 3 minutes, mince garlic and add it to skillet. Garlic is done cooking when it becomes noticeably fragrant. Note: Don't burn garlic. That tastes nasty.
- Pour contents of skillet into Crockpot. Drain canned corn. Add to Crockpot, along with potato wedges, mixed frozen vegetables, spaghetti sauce, canned diced tomatoes with jalapeños, and water. Add beef base, paprika, chili powder, cumin, oregano, basil, and however much salt and black pepper you want. Add rosemary and crushed red hot chili pepper flakes, if desired.
- Stir ingredients together in the pot. Place lid over the top. Turn Crockpot to high heat, and cook for 5&1/2-8 hours. Stir intermittently with spoon.
- About 5 minutes before you want to eat, make however many slices of buttered toast you want/need. Serve the toast with the stew as a delicious dipping and soaking-of-the-broth utensil!
Adapted from a recipe by Lynnette Davis at Taste of Home.