Sunday, September 28, 2008

Beef Stew with Sweet Potatoes

With the cooler weather upon us, the Office Cooking Club as been bringing in heartier meals. Last week, Aaron prepared a delicious vegetable lasagna, while I prepared Roasted Mushroom Risotto the week before that. Seeing as it's my turn again, I used the recent rainy weather in New York as motivation to formulate and execute this beef stew recipe. Though, to be honest, it looked completely different in my head.

The main reason for that was the type of potato I planned on using and the type of potato I actually used. I wanted to use sweet potatoes, so that's what I ordered from Fresh Direct. Technically, that's what I got, sweet potatoes:

Sweet Potatoes
(Photo courtesy of Fresh Direct)

But, in my head, I saw the sweet potato that was copper in color and moist in texture. I wanted these:

Jewel Yams
(Photo courtesy of Fresh Direct)

Fresh Direct calls these potatoes "jewel yams," using the descriptor of "sweet potato" as a secondary name. Bah! So, I made the mistake of ordering the wrong thing and should have ordered the "jewel yams." *sigh*

So, I began preparing the stew this morning with a cloud of disappointment surrounding me. I knew it wasn't going to look the way I wanted, and I was worried that the flavor would be compromised. The sweetness of the sweet potato is subtler than the sweetness of the jewel yam, and I had originally wanted to capitalize on the copper color since I wasn't planning on using carrots. All I could do was cross my fingers, have faith, and wait.

Folks, let me tell you, I worried for nothing. The stew turned out fabulously, and I was so anxious to try it when it was finally ready that I burned my lips. The flavors will have time to develop some more while the stew rests in the refrigerator overnight, so I have no doubt that it'll taste even better tomorrow. And since I bought twice as much stew beef than I needed (the other half is in the freezer), I have a feeling I'll be trying this recipe again with the "right" potato. Enjoy!

Beef Stew with Sweet Potatoes
Printable Recipe


INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean stew beef, cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, mnced
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 14.5-ounce can fat-free, reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup frozen green beans
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place stew beef in a large plastic bag with 3 tablespoons flour, salt, and pepper. Seal the bag and toss until the beef is evenly coated.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Brown beef on all sides, working in batches if necessary.
  3. Place sweet potatoes in the base of a preheated 4-5-quart slow cooker.* Layer on the browned beef, onions, and garlic. Pour in beef broth, beer, and Worcestershire sauce. Sprinkle in nutmeg. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Remove about 1/2 cup of the broth and place in a bowl. Whisk in remaining tablespoon of flour until there are no more lumps. Add the broth and flour mixture back to the slow cooker.
  5. Add frozen green beans and cook the stew for an additional 15-20 minutes.
* See previous food tip.

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8 comments:

Zesty Cook said...

I am a huge fan of beef stew. It really is tough to beat the slow cooker. And I love the addition of beer to the stew. Adds a great consistency within the gravy/sauce.

Great work. Love it
Zesty

Michelle said...

Zesty - I love beef stew, too. It always reminds me of home. I used the beer as the additional liquid instead of water (or more beef broth) in order to add a subtle layer of flavor. It really worked quite well!

My coworker Aaron (fellow member of the Office Cooking Club) already asked whether I was planning on making more stew in December/January, when it's colder. It's always a nice compliment when someone asks whether there will be more. :)

Kevin said...

I like the sound of using sweet potatoes n a beef stew. Using beer for the broth is always good as well.

Michelle said...

Kevin - The majority of the liquid in this recipe is beef broth. Do you think the flavor would have been compromised if I had switched it up and used more beer than broth? Or even just beer? This is the first time I've added beer to my stew, so I'm not sure of the hypothetical results.

Our family of 3 said...

What kind of beer do you use as I have never put beer in beef stew? Thanks.

Michelle said...

Our Family - I used a lager that I enjoy drinking, Yuengling in this case.

Anonymous said...

Found this via Google, and I've made it twice now. It's delicious. It is going into my regular dinner rotation.

Michelle said...

Anonymous - I'm so pleased and honored that you enjoyed my Beef Stew with Sweet Potatoes recipe enough to add it to your rotation. Hooray!