Beef stew doesn’t need to be heavy and unhealthy or difficult to make. This version is lighter with the addition of extra vegetables and is a cinch to prepare and cook thanks to the slow cooker.
- 1–2 tablespoon oil (I used olive oil)
- 1 1/2 pound stew beef
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to season beef
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus more to season beef
- 4 medium/large red potatoes, peeled if desired, cut into large pieces (about 1″)
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 large carrots, peeled, chopped
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaves torn into small pieces (about 1″ in size)
- 2–4 tablespoons cornstarch, optional (to thicken)
- Pre-heat a large pan over medium heat. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. When pan is ready, add 1 tablespoon oil (use a wooden spoon to ensure it coats the full bottom of the pan) and in two batches (or more, depending on how the beef fits – make sure it’s not crowded in the pan), cook the beef to brown on at least two sides, about 8-10 minutes per batch. When the first batch is done, add the cooked beef to the slow cooker. Add additional oil to the pan, if needed, and cook the next batch. When the last batch is done, add 1/4 cup water to the pan and scrape up the brown bits. Pour the beef and liquid into the slow cooker.
- Add potatoes, celery, carrots, onion, bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and stir a little. Fill slow cooker with water until it just reaches the bottom of the top level of vegetables. (NOT covering the whole top with water)
- Cook on low for 8 hours, or until meat is tender to your liking.
- Stir in kale, re-cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the kale is wilted and tender.
- Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and stir until the mixture is evenly combined. Stir cornstarch slurry into the stew. Repeat until the stew is thickened to your liking. Note: there may be some variation on how much cornstarch is needed depending on how much water you add to the slow cooker earlier in the recipe.
- Serve and enjoy!
If you add too much water prior to cooking, you may have a tough time thickening up this stew. Some people prefer their beef stew more on the liquidy side, anyways, so that may work in your favor.
You can substitute beef broth for some of your water when filling the slow cooker, if you want a richer flavor.