Tender Meaty Stew–Using the Crockpot Method

One question I have gotten several times from subscribers is… how do I  cook with tough cuts of meat like chuck? I am not a big meat eater, but I come from a family of carnivorous people.  My daughter especially must have been a tiger in her other life. If she had it her way, breakfast would be a steak with a side of bacon and sausage, which might explain her gigantic growth spurts. Now when I do serve red meat, which is about 3 times a month, I like to use high quality meat. I would rather pay a lot of $$$ to a local farmer who is using humane and sustainable practices, and eat less beef, than pay only a little $ and eat confined-miserable-cows-fed-crappy-gmo-diet-then-killed-mercilessly-beef often. So, go to your local farmer’s market and see if you can get your hands on some organic free range pastured beef and notice the difference in quality. Just recently, My family and about 6 other families literally bought a cow from a local farmer, that we named Ernest (don’t ask my why, a long story.) I am not a beef fan, mostly because I love cows…but this beef was the best I have ever tasted in my life. No funky smell upon opening the packages, and pristine cuts of meat that had so much flavor I barely had to season them upon cooking. I used thyme to spice the meat, but for a more Middle Eastern flavor you can use allspice instead. Notice, I just use one spice. When you have meat this good, you really want it to shine and not get overpowered by too many other flavors. So, in dividing this cow, I got big cooler filled with cuts of meat I never worked with much, like chuck, because it is notorious for being tough. Hence, my slow cooker came to the rescue. And, let me tell you, by the time this chuck was done cooking in this method, it tasted better than any filet mignon. No. Lie. For working people like me, a lot of this meal can be prepared a day in advance. Then all you have to do is  just assemble the day of and slow cook away while multitasking on a multitude of other tasks. 🙂


You need:

1 pound chuck or other stew meat, cut into cubes

2 tbs olive oil

2 large stalks of celery, sliced

2 large carrots, sliced

1 large onion, sliced

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup chicken or beef broth

Add salt and pepper to the beef pieces, and sear them in 1 tbs olive oil on high heat, until browned on the outside, Set aside. Then fill up your slow cooker with all the beautiful veggies and garlic(celery, carrots, zucchini). Mix veggies with more salt and pepper and thyme, Place meat pieces on top. Then, take sliced onions and saute them in the same pan in another TBS of olive oil as the chuck (should have meat juice in it) till lightly browned. (If you don’t take this step you will have gray meat in your slow cooker, not appetizing) Place browned onions on top of meat in slow cooker. Then pour about 1/2 cup chicken broth on top. Set that pile of goodness on slow cook method for 8 hours. The chuck, which is usually tough meat, becomes fork tender! Serve on a pile of mash potatoes, rice, polenta, or plain. 

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