November 16, 2012

Slow Cooker Spiced Beef Stew With Sweet Potatoes

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is next week! My two sons are very excited about the fact that their nannan and papa are coming to our house on Thursday to eat. I have decided to make it low key this year. I know a lot of people look to food blogs for great holiday recipe inspirations, but the holidays are the time of the year when I like simple and understated. Yes, I have the kitchen skills where I could go all out for three days preparing food for Thanksgiving. However, the food wouldn't be any better than the Turkey that my mother made in our tiny kitchen growing-up. To me the holidays have always meant family and togetherness and the food should go along with that theme. So this year I am making individual game hens. My family has never been a fan of turkey and I see no reason to insist on a tradition that no one favors. As sides I will make red mashed potatoes and a Brussels sprout dish with bacon and white wine. I have used these recipes since I first started hosting Thanksgiving. I know them inside and out and they are delicious. The only new things this year will be desserts. Since I am gluten free now I am going to try a bundt cake recipe which I am going to make gluten free and truffles so if the cake is a disaster, at least we still have chocolate. Most importantly I will call my dad and family back home as they gather at my aunt's house like they do every year. Even though I won't be there in person I look forward to these conversations which bridge the miles. I hope when my kids grow-up they will have some of these same traditions with the family members they can't be with in person. So after this long post on Thanksgiving I thought that a sweet potato recipe would be a perfect fit. Last month I tried a new recipe for Slow Cooker Spiced Beef Stew with Sweet Potatoes from the November issue of Southern Living Magazine, which looked like a perfect fall dish.

This recipe has 16 ingredients. It takes a total time of 6 hours and 50 minutes and makes 8 servings. I had no problems finding any of the ingredients at my local grocery store. As I have talked about previously I make my own beef broth and this recipe was no exception. Since I don't eat gluten instead of all-purpose flour I substituted gluten free cornstarch. I mixed the corn starch and beef broth together before adding to the slow cooker in order for the corn starch to fully dissolve. I am very picky about my chuck roasts, since I have gotten a few horribly tough ones in the last year. I have found that Angus roasts really are worth the little bit of extra money. Sweet onions this year can be hit or miss. The onions that I bought claimed to be sweet, but they definitely aren't the sweet onions available in the summer, they had a much stronger bite and had my eyes watering like crazy. Finally, I would definitely recommend slow cooker liners if you don't already use them. They are so much easier to use than having to clean the slow cooker after every use. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

While this recipe has a number of ingredients the actual prep work is almost all cutting the vegetables. The stew turned out thick and tender and my two boys really loved it. I take this as a compliment since they are so hit or miss with what they will eat these days. I served this as a dinner for my family of four and there was enough leftover for two additional lunches. Overall, an easy crock-pot beef stew recipe that will be perfect as the weather turns colder.

For the recipe go to Spiced Beef Stew with Sweet Potatoes.
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