This Slow Cooker Beef Stew With Red Wine adds a bit of sweet to the savory with balsamic vinegar and tender sweet potatoes.
I don’t eat or work with red meat often. But now that my favorite butcher has opened up shop here in my new little town (what are the odds? I’m ecstatic!), you might see a bit more of it. They do a great job at supporting local farms and artisans, and they care about quality and animal welfare.
When I first moved to this town, I was at the mercy of the local supermarket—one that I openly loathe because their produce is awful and they don’t carry many, if any, welfare-certified brands. So when The Butcher’s Market finally opened its doors here in Holly Springs, I blasted through their doors practically squealing with excitement.
Once you find a good butcher, there’s just no going back to the humdrum chain grocery meat counter.
Do you have a good butcher where you live? Is that something you’d be interested in seeking out? I get that sometimes folks like myself who tout supporting ethical and local come off as pretentious, but it’s not our intention. (Not all of us, anyway.) It’s just that there is a huge difference in the quality of meat. You can taste it! And personally, I do sleep better knowing that I’m not supporting factory farms. (That shit breaks my soul.) It’s a personal thing. It’s my bit of good I feel like I can put into the world. Everyone’s got their thing, right?
Put it this way: I encourage, but I don’t judge.
Slow Cooker Beef Stew With Red Wine.
Something I learned in my beginning days of cooking was that a simmered combination of beef, red wine, and rosemary is some kind of magic. The aroma is intoxicating and the flavors are a home run. Since getting pregnant, I’ve avoided alcohol in all shapes and forms (I even passed up on penne ala vodka on my birthday, much to my dismay). But! For this recipe, I figured a 1/2 cup of red wine splashed into a vat of stew would do no harm. Plus, there are pregnant women out there who enjoy the occasional glass of wine; power to them! It’s not something I feel I need to do, but when it came to this stew, I decided not to shy away.
A splash of sweet with the savory.
I grew up eating the classic beef stew brimming with chuck roast, potatoes, turnips, and carrots. Because I’m a sucker for all things sweet and savory, I thought I’d try it with my stew. And it worked. If you’re a strict meat n’ potatoes type who doesn’t like to stray from the norm, you may not be into this recipe. (My dad would never go for this.) But if you’re into surprising your tastebuds every once in a while, you’ll appreciate it. The sweet comes from a generous splash of thick balsamic vinegar; swapping regular potatoes for sweet potatoes also adds to it.
If you make this dish, snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme! I love seeing your creations, and you could be featured in my monthly newsletter <3
Slow Cooker Beef Stew With Red Wine
- 1 lb grass-fed stewing beef
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 4 oz baby bella or cremini mushrooms, washed and sliced You can use white or button mushrooms as well.
- 2 sweet potatoes; peeled, rinsed, and cubed
- 1 red or sweet onion, sliced into wedges
- 3 large carrots, peeled, rinsed, and sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, smashed and roughly sliced
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1/2 cup red wine of your choice
- 1.5 TBSP fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1.5 TBSP fresh thyme, leaves only (sticks discarded)
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp kosher or sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- Crusty fresh bread; optional
- Set your slow cooker to low to get it warmed up. Place the mushrooms, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, and garlic into the slow cooker.
- In a cast iron skillet, heat 1 TBSP of olive oil over medium heat. Pat the beef chunks with a paper towel and lightly season them with salt and pepper on each side).
- Place the beef into the skillet to sear it and give it a nice and light brown crust. This may take 2-3 minutes—don't move or flip the chunks of beef until they've browned. Once they've browned on one side, go ahead and flip the4m to brown the other side. You don't want to cook the beef through, you simply want to get a nice sear on the outside. Once the beef is seared on both sides, carefully transfer the beef to the slow cooker.
- Place the skillet back onto the stove, heat off; time to deglaze it! Add 1/2 cup of red wine, 1/2 cup of beef broth, and a few extra sprigs of rosemary if you have any, to the pan. (The rosemary sprigs are optional; I just love using them here because they infuse the liquid with flavor and the aromatics are delicious.)
- Turn the heat back onto medium and bring the liquid to a gentle simmer. This loosens all of the meat, fats, and extra juices from the pan. You can use a wooden or silicone spoon or spatula to scrape the crispy bits from the pan and stir them into the liquid as the liquid simmers.
- Once the pan has been deglazed (about 2-4 minutes), carefully transfer the pan juices to the slow cooker. Remove the rosemary sprigs.
- Add the freshly chopped herbs, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper, and remaining 3.5 cups of beef broth to the slow cooker. Give everything a good toss.
- Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. Check for doneness periodically as timing will depend on the size of your cubed ingredients and just how hot your slow cooker model gets. You'll also want to do a taste test and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
- When ready, serve in bowls with a garnish of fresh thyme and crusty fresh bread.