However, you could easily skip the step of browning the meat on the stove and just dump everything in the crock pot, but the meat won’t have that nice sear on it and won’t be as flavorful.
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 lbs. beef cubes, trimmed of fat
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. sweet marsala wine, divided
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted or low-sodium beef stock
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- mashed potatoes
1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp. of oil. Add the beef cubes and cook for 7-9 minutes until browned on all sides. Transfer to the crock pot.
2. Add the remaining oil to the skillet and the onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute before. Transfer the onions and garlic to the crock pot.
3. Add the tomato paste to the skillet and stir, then add in 1/2 cup of the marsala wine and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up any bits of meat that got stuck to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes or until the liquid evaporates by half, then season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the beef stock and thyme. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
5. Pour the mixture over the beef and onions. Top with mushrooms and carrots. Cook on low for 7 1/2 hours.
6. Strain the mixture through a colander, saving the cooking juices and transfer it to a large skillet or saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid has reduced to 2 cups. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of wine with flour and whisk together until a slurry forms. Pour into the boiling liquid, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens up into a gravy.
7. Plate the beef, mushroom and carrot mixture on top of the mashed potatoes and pour the gravy on top. Serve immediately.
I was concerned about cooking mushrooms for 7 1/2 hours in the crock pot because they tend to fall apart, but that didn’t happen with this recipe. I used white button mushrooms I purchased sliced from the grocery store. You could also use whole mushrooms with the stems removed. The marsala wine gives this beef stew a lot of gravy.
As for it being a stew, it is definitely on the thicker side. If you wanted more of a soup, you’d need to not let the cooking liquid evaporate as much, but then your gravy would be thinner.