This recipe for Beef Stew is comfort food at its best. Slow-cooked and packed with meat, potatoes and veggies, this recipe is great to have on hand for busy nights.
Slow cooker meals to the rescue! I love relying on my slow cooker to help me make a delicious, flavorful dinner that my whole family will enjoy. And you can’t go wrong with stew.
Really, stew is just a combination of ingredients – like vegetables, potatoes and sometimes meat – cooked in a liquid that results in gravy by the time its done. This is traditionally served in our home during the cold winter months.
This post is written in collaboration with Iowa Corn. I’m excited to partner with them and give you the inside story to Iowa’s farmers and a behind the scenes look into their lives.
I grew up having stew only a few times a year, primarily during the winter. And like when I was young, my kids often get confused between stew and soup. To me, soup isn’t packed with as many veggies or meat. Stew usually has chunks of meat like pork, beef or chicken. I always lean towards beef or even elk, as that is what I grew up having in my stew.
What goes with beef stew?
- Green Salad
- Mashed Potatoes – I love mashed potatoes with my stew. I pour my stew over the mashers, and it’s delicious!
- Cherry Cobbler
- Peach Cobbler
This recipe was inspried by my recent trip to Iowa. A few days in Iowa always does my heart good. From the people to the food, land and animals, I am always touched by the overall sense of community in every town or city we visit in Iowa. Not one state grows people like Iowa does. Salt of the earth and cream of the crop, a few sayings rang true in everyone we meet. Iowans love Iowa. They’re proud to be American, are incredibly hardworking and have amazing moral standards. The people of Iowa we met with are all about their community – not just in Iowa – but everywhere in the US.
Their practices and policies help not only feed our bellies and our cars, but also several countries around the world, where Iowa corn is exported in addition to Iowa pork as well.
You see, Iowa just isn’t about the corn on our table. In fact, only about 1% of the corn grown in Iowa is sweet corn. The other 99% is field corn, which is used to feed livestock, in a variety of food items we use every day and as fuel for our cars. Honestly, after I leave Iowa, I always feel like corn is in everything.
Now how is this Beef Stew recipe tied to corn? This year, Iowa Corn invited along Iowa Pork and Iowa Beef on the tour, giving us true insight into how they’re all tied together.
Starting out at Iowa Distilling Company, we ate the most amazing food. Well, basically all I can speak for was the Corn Queso because I loved it and went back so many times for “seconds”, by the time the dinner rolled around, I was full. So, I did take a few other bites along the way, but to be frank, that queso recipe was so good that I literally wanted nothing else.
Don’t worry friends the recipe for the corn queso is right here!
At Iowa Distillery, we learned how corn and whiskey go hand in hand. Whiskey is made from a blend of fermented grains such as corn, barley, rye and wheat. Bourbon is also made from corn. My friends loved trying all the different drinks, while I enjoyed watching their faces after each one. The biggest favorite by raw was the the Prairie Fire. While everyone sampled the drinks, I “sampled” more of the queso.
At the dinner, everyone stated where they were from, what they do and how they were involved in the trip. I love getting to know new people and becoming friends. This year, along with Shannon and Natalie (Iowa Corn peeps & friends), we met Gary and Teena, who have been farming for 50 years together. A small farm with just 1 to 2 people helping at a time, they managed to tend their land and grow their family all while continuing to learn and implement new practices in the farming industry. I loved hearing stories of the “good ole days”, even though I think most farmers would say that with all the new technology, the “good ole days” are now.
The next few days consisted of similar farm tours and lunch & learns with the American Lunch Association and a nutritionist. All of these discussions are insightful and somewhat mind blowing.
Why would Iowa Corn and the American Lung Association work together? Here is why friends… pollution! Our transportation causes the most toxic pollution in our environment. Iowa Corn cares about people and air quality, and they’re fighting to make a difference. Now corn isn’t going to solve air pollution, but it can help.
As I mentioned, corn helps fuel our cars. This is because field corn is used to make ethanol, which is in most gasoline. It’s something so simple and easy, that if we use even just 10% ethanol blend gasoline, we can improve our air and make it cleaner. I love that this is offered at my local gas station. I am not sure if you realize that ethanol is already in your fuel, but it is. And you can even get gas that has more ethanol fuel in it like E-85, which is popular here in Colorado.
Small changes like this help our environment.
Then we talked GMOs – not only when it comes to food, but also how and why GMOs are used from a farmer’s perspective. We met on Steve Kuiper’s farm, which had stunning views. Most of the farms we visited were flat, but not Steve’s. I still can’t get over the rolling hills – it was like out of a movie. He talked about farming practices, GMOs and really emphasized that he and the farms around him are aiming to be the best stewards while still being profitable. I didn’t realize what a balancing act this was until meeting with them. Overall, Steve wants to leave his farm there for generations to come.
Dr. Ruth McDonald once again awed me. We chatted about GMOs, our bodies and food marketing. I love watching as new people join us on the trip and hear the real hard facts for the first time – There is so much misinformation out there that people just don’t know how to process. Hearing facts from industry experts like Ruth and farmers like Kelli Blaire and Steve makes sense. I not only trust them, but I sense their passion and devotion to their farm and industry.
Read about GMOs and how it all plays into this in my previous post.
We had two amazing dinners. One was hosted by Iowa Pork, and it was one of the best meals I’ve had. It was insanely delicious and out of the box: My kind of meal. Read everything pigs and pork on one of these posts: Navy Beans or Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches.
At the beef dinner, naturally I had a big ole steak, and Rochelle Gillman talked to us about Grain vs Grass-finished beef. This was something I always wanted to know more about.
What is the difference between grain-fed and grass-fed beef?
- Certified Organic beef can be either grain or grass fed! I thought it was only grass.
- Grain-fed cattle have a lower carbon footprint since they reach their production weight at a younger age, but also grass-fed cattle contribute to sustainability since they graze on grasslands that help reduce carbon.
- Grain-fed cattle, in reality, only have 11% of the grain in their diet. The other 89% is everything else like plant leftovers & a few other things.
- Best fact of the night: US Farmers and ranchers only produce about 18% of the beef in the world with only 8% of the world’s cattle. Think about that! Our farming practices are top-notch!
Really, everything I learned this year with Iowa Corn Fed could never be summed up in 2 posts. It’s hard to find the right words to express my gratitude for these farmers and their advocates like Iowa Corn. But what I can do is be apart of their voice, their story and vision. I can share with you what I know to be true based on my experience.
Today, yes, this recipe for Beef Stew is what I want to bring to your family and dinner table, but what I also want you to receive is the message that the food we put into our bodies and the seeds we plant aren’t just about us individually, they’re about us as a whole. We’re working together to be the difference in our future.
How to make slow cooker beef stew.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Season beef with salt and pepper to taste. Add beef to the skillet and cook until evenly browned, about 2-3 minutes.
Place beef, potatoes, carrots, green beans, corn, onion and garlic into a 6-qt slow cooker. Stir in beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire, thyme, rosemary, paprika, caraway seeds, and bay leaves until well combined; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Cover, and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour and 1/2 cup stew broth. Stir in flour mixture into the slow cooker. Cover, and cook on high heat for an additional 30 minutes or until thickened.
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley if desired.
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Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds stew meat cut into 1-inch cubes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 pound baby red potatoes halfed
- 4 carrots cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 2 cups fresh green beans halved
- 1 cup frozen sweet corn
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups beef broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds optional
- 2 bay leaves
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 3/4 cup Sherry or red wine optional
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Season beef with salt and pepper, to taste. Add beef to the skillet and cook until evenly browned, about 2-3 minutes.
- Place beef, potatoes, carrots, green beans, corn, onion and garlic into a 6-qt slow cooker. Stir in beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire, thyme, rosemary, paprika, caraway seeds, and bay leaves until well combined; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour and 1/2 cup stew broth. Stir in flour mixture into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high heat for an additional 30 minutes, or until thickened.
- Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.