Thursday, February 11, 2010

French Provencal Beef Stew

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I've been eager to treat myself to a few new cookbooks. New year, new cookbooks. It only seems logical. As I was browsing for books one caught my attention immediately: Gourmet Slow Cooker – it had everything I was looking for! I really like this book because it categorizes the recipes into region of origin which makes it easy to pick out something if I am in the mood for a particular style: America, England/Ireland, France, Italy, India, Mexico.

This week I flipped to the French section and decided to go with Provencal Beef Stew. It took about an hour of prep time (browning the meat {see picture 1}, chopping then cooking the veggies, etc.) but then I poured the veggie/wine sauce {see picture 2} over the meat in the slow cooker and let it cook on the low setting for 5-8ish hours. I love crock pots – it makes dinner so easy because I can do all the preparation/cooking early in the afternoon and then it’s all ready for me to eat later that night. (It sort of feels like dining in a restaurant that way, when I’m ready to eat all I have to do is ladle it out of the crock pot and I’m good to go.)

While I sat here and did work as the stew cooked in the slow cooker the smell that filled my tiny apartment was AMAZING. (I think it was especially in part to the fresh rosemary mixed with onions and garlic.) The tasty aroma made me incredibly hungry and eager to eat, but alas, I had to wait.{See picture 3: that's the stew cooking in the crock pot.}

And then a few hours later, finally, it was time! {See picture 4: That's the stew after a few hours.} I liked the variety of ingredients in this recipe (like white wine, Dijon mustard, fresh rosemary and thyme), they were all unique enough to add a distinct flavor yet not hard to find. After slow cooking for numerous hours the meat became so tender that if I stirred it around too much or too vigorously it would just fall apart. I served the stew with some toasty French bread and some soft brie on the side. Everything was delicious! This stew was hearty and perfect for a meal on a chilly winter night. The meaty taste coupled with the veggies gave the stew a nice consistency and a lot of bold flavor. I would gladly made this again!

Overall score: 9 out of 10.

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