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I`ve been making quite a few meals out of my crock pot. This is another one. It is a hearty beef stew. I know the weather is much warmer and typically people reserve stews for when it is cold, but... I eat what I like whenever the mood strikes. And it happened to strike this week! :-)
I tossed stew meat, potatoes, carrots, minced garlic, french onion soup, a can of diced tomatoes, and a bunch of seasonings into the crock pot. I flavored it up with things like salt, pepper, a couple bay leaves, thyme, and basil. I let it cook on low all day. It was left to cook for about 9-10 hours. I like to put it on early in the morning and plan to eat between 5-6, that way I know it has had plenty of time to get all of the flavors together and the meat to become extremely tender.
Oh, and about an hour before I was ready to eat I thickened up the broth with some cornstarch (just mix about a tablespoon of cornstarch with some cold water until all the clumps are gone and then pour that into the crock pot). I let it continue to cook for an hour after thickening it to make sure it got to the consistency that I wanted.
The good thing about a meal like this is you can eat it as is the first day and then if you have left overs, they are even better because the flavors have had a chance to sit and mix together more... AND.. you can add things like peas or corn in as you start to run down to the bottom of the dish. It just helps to stretch it some. It is really good served with buttered bread or cornbread, too.
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