We’ve all begun to crave comfort food as the weather has turned cooler. Stews, chili and soups are some of the meals Jeanette of Jeanette’s Healthy Living makes more of with the change of seasons. The good news is that it’s easy to use less expensive cuts of meat that are tougher in these meals because they benefit from low, slow cooking. Another benefit is this recipe makes a lot (serves 4-6 and doubles well) and leftovers can be frozen and turned into a Mashed Cauliflower Potato Crusted Beef Casserole (To make this Mashed Cauliflower Potato Crusted Beef Casserole, simply chop the leftover beef stew into bite size pieces, top with mashed cauliflower potatoes and sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese. Bake the whole thing at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes until stew is hot and topping is browned.), or Beef Vegetable Soup (just add some broth, cooked whole grains or pasta, and chopped leafy green vegetables).
Slow Cooker Red Wine Beef Shank Stew
2 beef shank pieces (about 2.5 to 3 pounds)
fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion (about2 cups), chopped
4 carrots (about 2 cups), chopped
3 celery stalks (about 2 cups), chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons umami paste or tomato paste
2 cups red wine
2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence (or substitute a mixture of thyme, oregano, rosemary)
3 cups chopped tomatoes (30 ounces)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Season beef shank pieces with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat oil in a large pot and brown beef shank pieces on both sides. Transfer to slow cooker. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic to pot and sauté until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add umami paste and sauté another minute. Add red wine, Herbs de Provence and tomatoes; stir to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of the pot.
Transfer everything to slow cooker; cover and cook on high for 6 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For extra umami flavor, add some porcini mushrooms, season with soy sauce instead of salt and serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.