Easy Red Beef Stew

I was headed out to do some holiday shopping recently and decided that I wanted to make a simple crockpot dinner so that I wouldn’t feel pressured to rush home and make something that evening.  I had a nice piece of beef in the fridge and had picked up a package of baby potatoes at the store, so this was a really easy dinner to create.redbeefstew

Ingredients:

  • Beef – I don’t know much about cuts of beef, but I knew enough to get a “chuck roast”.  The one I chose was on sale, so I grabbed one that was on the smaller side so we wouldn’t have much waste.
  • Flour – I tossed some into a plastic bag to coat the beef before putting it into my crockpot.  Don’t honestly know how much… just enough to coat the meat.
  • 1+ onion – I cut this into thick chunks and used one whole vidalia onion and one half a red onion that I had in the fridge
  • 1 packet country gravy
  • 1 packet dry onion soup mix
  • 1 package (or similar amount) of baby potatoes (see photo of what I found at the store… this one included a few cloves of garlic and two sprigs of rosemary)
  • Red wine – the original recipe simply called for water, but that won’t cut it in my house.  WHY USE WATER WHEN YOU CAN USE WINE??
  • Frozen peas – I didn’t measure, but you could use whatever vegetable you like best here.  NOTE: If you’re planning to use carrots, I would allow them to cook with the beef instead of popping them in at the end.

Directions:

  1. Slice onion into chunks and put in the bottom of a large crockpot.
  2. Toss the meat in a plastic bag with some flour and then shake to cover.  Place meat on top of onions to cook.
  3. Open package of potatoes (or chop up large potatoes to fit around roast) and lay them around the meat in the crockpot.
  4. In a separate bowl, open the packets of gravy and onion soup and mix together with red wine.  I did not measure the amount of red wine used – I simply poured the wine and mixed it with the dry ingredients until it looked like enough.  I have a habit of adding too much liquid to my crockpot recipes, so I went a little lighter than I might have otherwise, which ended up working out well.
  5. Pour liquid over the roast.
  6. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
  7. During the last half hour (or 15 minutes before serving), stir the roast a bit and add your frozen peas.  These won’t take long to cook and you don’t want them to disintegrate into the gravy.
  8. Serve with some crusty bread to soak up the gravy… it’s delicious!

This was one of the most simple of meals but such a crowd pleaser.  If your family is picky about onions, feel free to slice them a bit smaller, but I liked the chunks of onion with the bites of meat and potato.  Feel free to experiment with other vegetables or seasonings… it’s your meal for your family, so use what you like!

Enjoy!

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Recipe: Brownies… with wine

This is probably the single most incredibly easy recipe I could possibly share with you.  Each and every time I mention this in the tasting room, the reaction I get just makes me laugh.  I’m not a scientist and don’t claim to be one, so I have no real clue what it is that wine does to brownies, but let me tell you… they’re incredible.

To make this recipe, you want to find a box of brownie mix.  Not just any brownie mix, but find one that actually calls for the same amount of oil and water in the mix.  Don’t be daunted by the idea that you might not end up using the “name brand”… a generic brand will work just fine.  Keep searching on the back of the box to find one with this ratio.  I have no idea why it’s important, but it is.

Second step?  Replace the water in the recipe with an equal amount of red wine.  Here’s the thing… you can use a dry red wine, like a Cab Franc or a Malbec… you can use something with some Residual Sugar like Hanover Red (from James River Cellars) or Rad Red (from this same winery)… you can use a red Flip Flop wine if that’s what you’ve got on hand.  It’s all up to you.

Next step is to go back to the recipe and continue to follow it through the baking process.  I suggest underbaking these by a little, checking after the first time suggestion on the box.  If a knife, stuck into the middle of the brownies, comes out “mostly clean”, go ahead and take them out of the oven and let them cool.

Once your wine brownies are cool, cut them and enjoy them with your friends and neighbors.  Since the alcohol in the wine is cooked out, these are fine for kids to eat as well… provided they’re allowed to have this kind of chocolate-yummy-goodness.

You’ll probably be asked for the recipe…. feel free to point them toward this blog.  I love sharing my recipes, as you can tell by this blog!