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Beef Stew with Dried Mushrooms

I’ve had a couple of people request more easy recipes that can be made in the Crockpot, so this stew is something I cooked over the weekend and really loved. Other than having a chuck roast from Costco, quite honestly I chose this recipe because I had all the ingredients and wanted to cook something on Saturday without going to the grocery store!

I can be fickle about cookbooks, but this came from a book I’ve returned to many times, and not a bad recipe yet. Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World, has recipes for traditional ethnic foods found all around the world. All are written in Bittman’s famous *minimalist* style where he doesn’t mind if you need to substitute an ingredient or adapt the recipe a bit.

Of course, you know how I am, I did adapt it. I used some of my slow roasted tomatoes from the freezer, but you could use canned tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes with good results. I substituted dried Shitake mushrooms for the dried porcini the recipe called for because I had them. And I used *a lot* more mushrooms than Mark Bittman did because I have one of those huge bags of shitake mushrooms from Costco, and I love mushrooms.

Crockpots vary widely in their levels of heat, with the older ones (called slow cookers) cooking at a much lower temperature than the newer models. I cooked this in a newer model 2 1/2 quart Crockpot which cooks fairly hot, so keep that in mind if you’re using an older model. If you only have a large Crockpot, you’ll need to double the recipe. Mark Bittman cooked his stew on the stovetop, so I’m going to give those instructions along with the crockpot ones.

This is my entry for Waiter, there’s something in my . . . the newest bit of food blogging fun sponsored by Andrew, Jeanne, and Johanna. If you’re a food blogger, you have until January 22 to send your entry.

Beef Stew with Dried Mushrooms  (Crockpot or Stovetop Recipe)
(about 6 servings, adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World, page 381)

2 cups beef stock, heated to boiling
2 cups dried shitake mushrooms, broken in pieces
(or less, as per your taste and budget)
1 large onion, chopped
2 lb beef chuck, all fat trimmed, cut into pieces about 1″ or slightly larger
1-2 T olive oil (depends on your pan)
1/2 cup water (use 1 cup for stovetop cooking)
1/2 cup slow roasted tomatoes, chopped
(If you don’t have roasted tomatoes, use 1/2 cup diced sun dried tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes. If using diced tomatoes for Crockpot version, drain tomatoes well, measure liquid and reduce the amount of stock by that amount.)
2 T tomato paste (I use a tube. If canned, just freeze the rest.)
3 dried bay leaves
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Break dried mushrooms into 1″ pieces (this is easier than cutting them after you soak them.) Heat stock to point of boiling in saucepan, turn off heat, then add mushrooms and let them soak while you brown onions and meat.

In large heavy pan, heat 1 T olive oil, add chopped onion and saute about 5 minutes, until onions are softened but not browned. Put onions in crockpot or stockpot.

In same pan add rest of olive oil (if needed) and brown meat, turning with a fork so it browns well on all sides. (Don’t rush this step. It will take about 15 minutes to brown well.) Add meat to Crockpot or stockpot. Pour 1/2 cup water into hot pan, use a turner to scrape all browned bits off, and add liquid and meat bits to crockpot or stockpot.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, mushrooms and beef stock, and bay leaves. For Crockpot, cook on low 5-6 hours, until meat is tender and flavors are well combined. For stovetop, simmer on low about 2 hours. You may need to add more water for stovetop. (Don’t be tempted to add more liquid to the Crockpot, even if it looks like it won’t be enough when you first put it in, as foods release liquid in a crockpot and I often end up wishing I had used less liquid, never more.) Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper. (I did not add salt.) Serve hot.

South Beach Suggestions:
For phase one of the South Beach Diet, this would go well with Pureed Cauliflower with Garlic, Parmesan, and Goat Cheese, Georgette’s Greek Zucchini, or Roasted Broccoli with Garlic. For phase two or three, add something like Lake Powell Spicy Rice or Brown and Wild Rice with Pine Nuts and Thyme.

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20 comments on “Beef Stew with Dried Mushrooms”

  1. Mama Slice, since I used roasted tomatoes (that don't have much liquid) if you're using canned tomatoes I would drain and measure the amount of liquid in the tomatoes, then reduce the amount of beef stock by that amount, adding the drained tomato liquid and stock to the crockpot together.

  2. Kalyn.. in regards to the diced tomatoes.. do you drain the liquid to discard? Or do you drain to measure the liquid? You write to take that amount out of the stock amount, so are you trying to just replace the stock amount with the tomato liquid? I wasn't sure if I should discard the tomato liquid or use it after I take that amount from the beef stock. Thanks for your blog! We've been using a lot of your recipes! We've been on the sbd for 2 months now. 🙂

  3. Jill, that’s great! Thanks for letting me know you liked it!

  4. Kalyn– Amazing recipe! My husband is in love with it. Even my father, who hates the idea of diet foods (other than his diet soda)was raving about this stew and asking for more. Bravo, lady! Well Done!

  5. that looks great! and i just that cookbook was just delivered to me from amazon on saturday! i haven’t had a chance to crack it open yet.

  6. Ros, Phase One Recipe means that you can eat this on phase one of the South Beach Diet (the strictest phase) so yes, I guess this is a diet recipe. (Don’t tell your family and they’ll never know!

  7. So “South Beach Phase One” means that this is a diet recipe? (Sorry I’m a bit behind on this) That’s amazing – I wish I’d had food like that when I was losing weight and not all that calorie controlled ready meal rubbish I was stuck with.

  8. One I could cope with replicating, sounds and looks delicious.

    Thanks for taking part – I am currently collating the entries so should post the round-up shortly.

  9. Thanks everyone for the nice comments. Naudee, you are a gem for giving me all this great feedback. I do think that shitakes are a bit of an acquired taste. The original recipe called for porcini I think, which might be easier to find in Germany than they are here.

  10. just wanted to comment and let ya know that we tried this and its really good! As much as I like mushrooms I guess I’m not big on shitake’s so I’ll use something else next time or a combination of mushrooms. However despite not being keen on shitake’s I still really liked this dish. 😀

  11. Thanks for this wonderful recipe. I just discovered my crock pot in our loft last week and used it for the first time to great success and have been on the lookout for more recipes to try out.

    This one looks like a winner!

  12. Kalyn, this was delicious ( changed it ever so slightly, but I believe that is the spirit of the recipe; how adaptable it is !). I posted about it on my blog.

  13. The stew looks wonderful. Definitely on this list for this week.

    Thanks for sharing.

  14. Kalyn this sounds really yummy!!!! I’ll have put this on the menu for next week or so….
    Thanks for posting the stove top directions as this is how I’ll be making it. I haven’t purchased a German crock pot and of course my American one doesn’t work here…… 😀

  15. This would be perfect for me because I love slow cooking but so far have been doing it on the stove top only…I think my mom has one (slow cooker) which she never uses that I think I can filch, heehee 🙂

    I also love mushrooms 🙂

  16. Lydia, I am laughing, because I have at last count six slow cookers. One is a teeny-tiny one for dips, two are the old kind without removable crock (DON’T get that kind), the other three are different sizes of the removable crock type, newer model. I have that exact one that’s linked to in this post, which is a good size for me.

    The slow cooker isn’t good for everything, but it’s great for some things. Last weekend I made a fantastic Balsamic Pot Roast with Onions that I’ll be writing about soon.

  17. I’m planning on buying my very first slow cooker this year, not so much because I don’t have time to cook, but because I want to explore this method of cooking. So, of course, I’m collecting recipes! This one looks like a keeper. Thanks, Kalyn.

  18. Hi Helene,
    Since you’re new to blogging I’ll let you know how it works to enter an event like WHB. Don’t leave your link as a comment (that encourages spammers to do the same). Send the link to the event’s host by e-mail. I can’t read German, but your entry looks like it would fit for WHB. You might want to include a google translation link. You need to link to the host for that week and then send them your permalink. Here’s how to find out who’s hosting weekend herb blogging, and here are the rules for Weekend Herb Blogging. Have fun, and welcome to blogging!

    Ellie, thanks. I’m not a big beef eater, but this was really delicious. I wasn’t planning on posting it so soon for the event, but I ate it for lunch at school and several teachers wanted the recipe.

  19. This looks and sounds marvellous! I had a pretty filling dinner but suddenly my belly seems to be feeling a bit empty…!

  20. Hello Kalyn,
    being a “younger” blogger with little experiences, I like to give you a hint to a post I just put in the net. Perhaps it my fit for next weekends herb session.

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