What a Crock
So, you got this great beef stew crock pot recipe handed down from your great Grandma, but you’re wondering how it will turn out in your new crock pot? In the olden days, your Beef Stew could be cooked on a wood-fire or gas stove as long as someone was around the house to watch it all day. These days, we’re often not around to watch a Pot of Soup or Stew to make sure the bottom isn’t burning or that it’s turned up enough to actually cook. I never feel comfortable leaving one of my stove burners on when I’m away from the house for too long. When it comes to soups, sauces and stews, I like to have the heat turned up just enough so it is bubbling ever so slightly, but not boiling so much that it will burn on the bottom without being stirred. I’ve had problems in the past getting spaghetti sauce to cook properly in the old Hamilton Beach Crock Pot I used to own. It would always come out too thin, soupy and raw tasting, no matter how long it was cooked. My most recent Crock Pot, a Rival, seems to have the opposite problem. Unless, a great deal of liquid is added to the ingredients, it will often dry up. We discovered the problem had to do with the lid not fitting securely enough to seal in the moisture. The best crock pot has to be able to hold in moisture at a steady temperature. A decent Beef Stew Crock Pot Recipe along with a good Crock Pot should be able to cook on its low temperature setting for 8-12 hours completely unattended. Good, low even and consistent heat is the key. Fortunately, Crock Pot Heat is far more even and consistent that those Electric Toaster Ovens.
Beef Stew Crock Pot Recipe
There is one other problem cooking with Crock Pots. You need to prepare the recipe properly from the beginning. For Beef Stew cooked in a Crock Pot, I like to brown the meat in a cast iron pan of hot oil. Use a good, tender, fatty meat and as it browns begin adding flour, salt and pepper. The idea is to end up with a thick, somewhat sticky gravy that will turn to a nice brown broth as it cooks in the crock pot all day. After the meat browns, I transfer to the crock pot. Then, I add celery, carrots, potatoes, couple of garlic cloves, bay leaf and water along with some red wine and Worcester sauce. I like to use enough moisture and vegetables so the crock pot is filled up to approximately 1 inch below the top of the crock pot. Don’t worry, the thick, sticky gravy will blend, over-time with the liquids to form a semi-thick stew gravy. I have no idea if this is the way Grandma or Great Grandma made it. They didn’t have a Beef Stew Crock Pot Recipe in those days. Crock Pots have been around for nearly 50 years, but they really weren’t a very common household cooking item until the 1970’s. I’m here to tell you, the crock pots of 2010 are much better than the ones my mom used in the 1970s.
Rating on the Hamilton Beach
You can get a decent Crock Pot for $25.00. Expect to pay $40-$70 for a really good one. Size is everything. If you want to make a huge pork or beef roast for that Italian Beef recipe, you’ll wish you had one of the bigger Oval Crock pots. I know I wished I had several times. Better yet, Hamilton Beach has the best of all worlds, in its 33135 Model, 3-in-1 Slow Cooker. This brilliant design comes with three different sized crocks to cook in:
- 2 Quarts
- 4 Quarts
- 6 Quartrs
The 6 Quart size works great for those large pork or beef roasts or for a huge Italian Spaghetti sauce full of Meatballs and Italian Sausage. The operation of the Hamilton Beach crock pot is flawless. Put the meat and liquids in the crock; set it in the heating element and select your desired heat: Low, High and Warm. Don’t worry about which lid to use. One Lid fits all sizes of crocks. I am completely sold on the product. Over 60 users have rated the Hamilton Beach Crock Pot a score of 4.5 stars out of 5.