As I look at the thermometer and see it is only 29 degrees but feels like 19 degrees I am already thinking about what warm, comforting foods I can make for dinner tonight. As the days get colder my slow cooker is going to be getting a good workout.
I started this recipe by perusing Pinterest looking for something different to do with stew beef. I finally gave up and started creating. My family loves beef stew so I knew no matter what I did if I stuck close to the tried and true they would like it. The addition of the balsamic vinegar and sweet potatoes really changed this meal though.
The balsamic vinegar added a great tang to this dish that gave it a very different taste than our usual beef stew. Everyone agreed that this was their favorite version so far. I wasn’t sold on the sweet potatoes, thinking they were a bit too sweet for this dish, but everyone else voted me down.
I served this dish with warmed Italian bread and a side salad.
- 2 lbs. stew beef cut into 1″ chunks
- 1 TBSP canola oil
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 3 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1″ chunks
- 3 large carrots, sliced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 2 large sweet onions, cut into 6ths
- 2 cups beef stock, (more if you like it “soupier”)
- ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, the best you have
- 3 TBSP cornstarch
- 3 TBSP cold water
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic once the pan is warm and let the garlic become fragrant (not brown) for 1-2 minutes. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon to the slow cooker.
- Return the pan to the burner and add the stew beef. You want the pan to be hot to sear the meat quickly. Brown each side quickly then add the beef to the slow cooker.
- Add the vegetables with the sweet potatoes first, carrots, celery then onions. Pour the beef stock over the vegetables, add pepper and balsamic vinegar. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until beef has cooked through and sweet potatoes are fork tender.
- Stir well and adjust spices as needed.
- Stir the cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl until cornstarch is dissolved. Once it is dissolved add the mixture to the slow cooker and stir well. Turn the slow cooker on high for 15-20 minutes.
- Stir mixture and if it is not thick enough for your liking add 1 TBSP of cornstarch to 1 TBSP of water and add to slow cooker.
- Once beef stew has thickened taste and adjust spices. Serve.