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There really is nothing better than hot stew on a winterís night, and this recipe from Melissa Howard uses a slow cooker so it can be waiting for you after a hard dayís work or play.

  • 6 slices bacon (Melissa prefers apple-smoked bacon)
  • 3 lbs. beef roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 TB. flour
  • 1-2 TB. vegetable oil (optional-as needed)
  • 1 red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Cups baby carrots or sliced carrots
  • 1 Cup red wine
  • 1 Cup beef broth (or 1 Cup water mixed with 1 tsp. BEEF SOUP BASE)
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 5 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. THYME
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (Melissa prefers sea salt)
  • 8 oz. fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Cup dried tomatoes (Melissa uses tomatoes dried from her garden)

Fry the bacon in a skillet until crispy over medium heat. Be careful not to have the heat too high or the drippings will turn dark, which is not good, as youíll be using them to brown the beef. Pull the bacon out and let it rest on paper towels to absorb the grease. Leave the drippings in the pan to use for frying the beef. Toss the beef cubes with the flour and PEPPER. Brown the beef in 3-4 batches. Too much beef in the pan at once will cause it to steam instead of brown. Take your time and brown all sides of the beef cubes. If the first batch of beef has absorbed all the drippings, add 1 TB. of vegetable oil to the pan before each subsequent batch of beef to help it brown. Then add the onion and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes. Place the beef/vegetable mix in a slow cooker. Pour about 1/3 of the wine in the skillet and stir up all the yummy browned bits. Add the liquid from the pan to the slow cooker along with the remaining wine and the beef broth. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the BASIL, THYME and salt. Crumble the crispy bacon into the slow cooker. Set the slow cooker to high for 2 hours then turn to low and cook for 5-7 hours. About 30 minutes before serving add the mushrooms and dried tomatoes. If you do not have a slow cooker you may use a large oven-proof dish with a lid and place it in a 325° oven for 3-4 hours. Serve over rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes.

Prep. time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 3-7 hours (3 in oven, up to 7 in slow cooker)
Serves: 8-10

Nutritional Information:
Servings 10; Serving Size 1 cup (285g); Calories 250; Calories from fat 70; Total fat 7g; Cholesterol 65mg; Sodium 670mg; Carbohydrate 15g; Dietary Fiber 3g.

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