The first recipe I tried in the 2005 Canadian Living Slow Cooker cooking special was a success. I adapted it a bit, mainly in spicing and preparation. It makes about 6 good servings. It’s a simple beef vegetable stew.
I processed the vegetables first. It calls for 2 cups of sweet potato which is one large potato, two or three potatoes, two onions, two stalks of celery. I think yams are the same as sweet potatoes – it won’t make a difference for this recipe. Peel the yam and dice it into small cubes – under one inch thick. Peel the potatoes or not. I use yellow potatoes and didn’t bother peeling them but I would peel a red or russet. Dice them the same as the yam. Cut the onion into wedges. I would trim the ends to make sure the onion breaks into layers too. Slice the celery into thin slices and chop it.
Next, take a 28 oz can of tomatoes. Use whole tomatoes. Put them in the crockpot and mash them with a potato masher. Add the processed fresh veggies (above). Add two cups of beef stock. If you use 12 oz cans, use one can and one-third of the second can. Save the rest in the fridge for later.
Now spices. Use two teaspoons of packaged Italian seasoning or wing it with Rosemary, marjoram, oregano. I added a quarter teaspoon of cumin. I ground some pepper in at this point – about a quarter to half a teaspoon. Put in two bay leaves. Stir it all up, cover it and turn the heat on low. I did all of this before 7:30 AM and went to church. I thought the veggies could stand a little more cooking time. The meat can go in a hour or two later, but you can do it at the start if you want.
You need about 800 grams of beef. You can use beef stew, but I used a braising steak and cut it up into cubes, trimming fat and sinew as I went. You can throw the meat in raw, or you can brown it in a skillet with oil, which cooks off a little fat. I took that approach. I removed the meat from the skillet with a slotted spoon and put it in the stew.
The overall cooking time for is about 10-12 hours. It worked for me. I started at 7:30 AM and the veggies were good by 6:30 PM. The meat was nice and tender too.
The last step, about a half hour before the end is to whisk half a cup of flour into the remaining beef broth (I had a cup) and to stir that into the stew, and to add a cup of frozen peas.
Delicious. A whole meal in one dish, and leftovers.