Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Autumn Vegetables

Update: This recipe was updated with new images and a few recipe tweaks on 11/9/2018 to make it better than ever! I’ve been slowly updating images on old recipes because I’ve learned so much about photography in recent years!

Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Autumn Vegetables

Phew. 

After searching for over a year, we finally moved to a new home! My emotions are a mix of excited for the months ahead and--if I am being honest- exhausted. It's true the move was tiring: packing up and hauling everything to a new place is always an ordeal, but we had great help from friends (thanks!!) which made it feel more like an adventure. The truth is, it was looking for a home that was the ultimate exercise in patience, convincing myself that even after a year of visiting at least a hundred properties, something would come up. Not only would something come up, but somehow, someway, we'd be lucky enough to move there. (No one tells you quite how exhausting it will be). 

Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Autumn Vegetables
Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Autumn Vegetables

Now that it is done it is almost unreal, as if none of it ever happened and we've been here all along. We made a lot of compromises over the last year, decided what we really want. Coming to peace with hard decisions is never easy, but I'm not one to dwell. Personally I've always thought that worrying about the un-changeable is a painful waste of energy. Instead, I prefer to see my mark and make the most of it, determining my next play. 

What helps is cooking up a storm, and filling the air with home scents like pumpkin pie and autumn stew. 

This autumn stew is like a traditional beef stew — simmered slowly with broth and wine, bay leaves and thyme - but also calls for winter squash (I used butternut, but kabocha or red kuri would work, too!) which gives it a fall touch. Especially in late fall, when the weather is brisk (the high today was 41°F!).

I find that more beef stews go well with Pinot Nior and this one is no exception! Plus, made in your slow cooker, it’s easy-going.

I do all my chopping in the morning before heading to work, and put everything in the removed stainless steel pot of an Instant Pot. Then, when I get home I take the pot out of the fridge and put the pot back in the Instant Pot, place the lid on, and set the timer for 4 hours. We head to gym, run errands, all that jazz, and get home to a flavorful meal. (P.S., you can cut the cooking time a bit short (30-45 minutes) if you get home before the 4 hours is up. Just check to make sure the beef is cooked through! The last hour does let the flavors mingle and does really soften up the beef, but some evenings you just run out of time. Obviously if you’re able to start the pot at 1 or 2, it’s a mute point because it’ll be done cooking before the sun goes down.)

Serving with warm mash potatoes or a piece of crusty bread is spot on.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Autumn Vegetables
Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Autumn Vegetables

Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Autumn Vegetables

Published October 17, 2016 by
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Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 4 hours



Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds beef chuck, cubed (ask your butcher to dice it for you if it is not already diced)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup wine
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef or chicken broth
  • 3 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 small winter squash, peeled and seeded (butternut, kabocha, kuri, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herbs (or, a mix of dried thyme, rosemary, oregano)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pinch fennel seeds
  • Several dashes salt & pepper
  • Optional, to serve: minced parsley

  • Directions:

    1. Heat coconut oil in the bottom of your Instant Pot (affiliate link!) or slow cooker on the Sauté setting. When the oil is hot, add diced onion, minced garlic, and celery and sauté until onion is translucent.
    2. Add cubed beef to the pot, allowing it to brown on the edges. Stir every 2-3 minutes to brown each side.
    3. Pour in the wine, diced tomatoes, and broth, and add the chopped carrots and squash. Add herbs, spices, salt and pepper and stir.
    4. Place lid on Instant Pot and set to “Slow Cooker” setting. Adjust to “high” and set timer for 4 hours with the vent in the sealed position.
    5. When timer goes off, open pot and laddle into bowls. Top with minced parsley and serve hot.

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    Cider Braised Pork

    Apple Cider Braised Pork

    Earlier this month we drove up to Kenosha Pass for a bike ride through the trees. We were not alone-- the lot off of the Colorado Trail was packed even by 9 in the morning, a bustle of people, dogs, and babies getting ready for the trail. 

    Apple Cider Braised Pork

    Once we started up the trail the crowds thinned; on bikes we were able to get ahead of the walkers and wanders. After an initial thirty minutes of hill climbing, it was more than just the altitude taking our breath away: the vast aspen groves were golden yellow, sometimes red. The valley was washed in buckets of fall light, and the skies were a perfect lapis blue, dotted with fluffy clouds. 

    "This is the part where you just want to die and go to heaven," my mom said. (At first I thought she might mean there is another big hill, i.e., You'll want to die trying to bike up this thing! but then I took in everything around me and thought, Yes, I could stay awhile.) 

    At home, a slow cooker full of cider braised pork-- homey, slightly sweet, fall-apart tender- awaited our hungry post-ride stomachs. Honestly, at that point we were so hungry anything would've done the job but then and I thought: This is what September feels like.

    Apple Cider Braised Pork
    Apple Cider Braised Pork

    Cider Braised Pork

    Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

    Flavors of fall in a homey, slow cooker dish.

    Serves: 4   |    Total Time:



    Ingredients:

    • 1 pound pork shoulder, cubed
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
    • 1 onion
    • 2-3 stalks of celery
    • 2-3 large carrots
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1 cup apple cider (hard cider or apple juice)
    • 2 cups bone broth
    • 2 springs each thyme and rosemary
    • Salt & Pepper

    Directions:

    1. Heat coconut oil in the bottom of a pan or your Instant Pot. Place pork in pot, and brown on all sides. If you are browning meat in a separate pot, place the pork in your slow cooker/Instant Pot now.
    2. Mince garlic. Chop onion into wedges, slice carrots into rounds, and dice celery. Place all in the slow cook. Pour cider and broth in. Season with salt & pepper, and top with thyme & rosemary springs. Set slow cooker on low setting and cook for 10 hours (set Instant Pot to slow cooker setting).
    3. Optional: after stew is done cooking, spoon it into an oven-safe dish (such as a cast iron pot) and place under broiler for 5-10 minutes, to brown the top of the pork a bit more. Serve hot over sweet potato mash!

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    Slow Cooker Korean Pork Cabbage Cups

    This is a popular recipe from Foraged Dish and new photos were added! Same recipe :)

    Slow Cooker Korean Pork Cabbage Cups

    The newest craze in this house is Korean Pork Tacos. It started with a simple slow cooker recipe, and before long, Oliver was saying, "Let's make a double batch and just have a huge taco party!" Meanwhile, I was finding creative ways to add the leftover pork to just about every meal: topped with a fried egg, over salad, even just topped with sesame seeds and hot sauce. Hey! Everyone has their own means of expression, right? 

    Slow Cooker Korean Pork Cabbage Cups

    I didn't realize it until now, but these cabbage cups (the filling also makes killer tacos with corn tortillas) remind me of San Francisco. There's no rhyme or reason. No specific nostalgic memory in my mind that I can tie back to these tacos, but still, they make me think of San Fran. I think it's the way that East meets West in a single bite -- from the umami pork to the bright, fleshy mango in the salsa. 

    That contrast is like the steep hills of San Francisco. The tall, brightly colored apartment buildings. The small, crowded shops of China town. A little slice of culture. In a taco. 

    Slow Cooker Korean Pork Cabbage Cups
    Slow Cooker Korean Pork Cabbage Cups

    Slow Cooker Korean Pork Cabbage Cups

    Published March 6, 2016 by
       Print This Recipe

    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 12 hours



    Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds pork shoulder or pork stew meat
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup traditionally fermented soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chili paste
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of one orange
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • To serve (mix and match to your preferences!): cabbage leaves, mango salsa, hot sauce, avocado, kim chi, sesame seeds, etc

  • Directions:

    1. Heat the coconut oil in the bottom of a slow cooker that has a sauté setting or a skillet. Place pork in pot once heated, and brown on each side (about 5 minutes each side). Once brown, either turn off sauté setting or transfer pork to slow cooker. Place onions in slow cooker as well.
    2. In a jar, stir together the remaining ingredients (soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, chili paste, vinegar, orange juice, ginger, garlic, onion powder). Pour mixture over pork and place lid on slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. (Note: you can use an Instant Pot (affiliate link!) for this recipe, but set it to the Slow Cooker setting).
    3. After 8-10 hours, open slow cooker and use a slotted spoon to remove pork from cooking liquid, and place on cookie sheet. Shred pork using tongs and a fork and spread into single layer on sheet pan. Turn oven to broil and cook pork for 5-7 minutes, until the top pieces become crispy.
    4. Assemble cabbage cups to taste and serve!
    5. Note: this pork also makes great tacos with corn tortillas.

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