Monday, December 28, 2009

Sweet & Savory Beef Stew

I'm hungover - from the holidays that is and I'm in no mood to make a big fuss in the kitchen. My slow cooker is once again my savior! I'm typically not a fan of fruit in my savory dishes but the prunes (yes, you heard me right!) give a nice depth of flavor to this hearty winter fare. I'm snowed in and not willing to venture out for crusty bread but good bread and a salad would complete the meal. I'm settling for buttered noodles so my kids more inclined to eat stew with prunes!

Sweet & Savory Beef Stew

1/3 C. all purpose flour
2 tsp. paprika
2 lbs. chuck steak or stew meat, cubed in 1-inch pieces
1 Tbl. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbl. tomato paste
1 14.5-oz. diced tomatoes, drained
1 3/4 cups chicken broth, I use low-sodium
1 lb. parsnips, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch coins
1 cup pitted prunes, chopped
1 Tbl. light brown sugar
optional = carrots, I added some because I just adore cooked carrots and had them!

Combine flour and 1 1/2 tsp. of paprika in a large baggie. Toss in beef (in two batches) and toss to coat. Remove beef from bag and shake off excess flour.

Heat oil in large non-stick pan over med-high heat and brown beef on all sides for about 5 minutes. Remove beef and place in slow cooker.

Reduce heat and add onions and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. each paprika, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Cook about 4 minutes until soft and stir in tomato paste and cook 2 more minutes. Put this mixture into slow cooker and add diced tomatoes and and broth.. Cook on high for five hours or on low for 7 hours. When you have 1 1/2 hours left, add parsnips, carrots, prunes and the remaining salt, pepper, cinnamon and the brown sugar. (I added parsnips earlier but that's just me!) Serve with either rice, egg noodles or just some crusty good bread.

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