How to make beef stew in a slow cooker

In this video, Andrea makes a beef stew in a slow cooker. You can also make this recipe on the hob if you prefer.

If you'd like to see the ingredients or download a highly accessible version of this recipe, you can do that here.



Andrea: My name's Andrea I'm a qualified nutritionist and chef working at Greenwich Pantry a food business that teaches cookery skills. In this video I'm showing you how to make a beef stew. This is a great option for a cold day and it's pretty easy to make a big batch for freezing and using later. Joining me today is Ashley from Stroke Association.

Ashley: Hello! Sorry Andrea I wanted to ask, beef is quite a pricey ingredient and obviously not vegetarian friendly, can you recommend any alternatives?

Andrea: Yes I can. We've got mushrooms here you can use mushrooms instead of beef or you could use some kind of lentils. Which is also good in the recipe and it reduces the cost of of the recipe as well. So the preparation time for this recipe is 10 to 15 minutes. If you're using the slow cooker it can take anything from four to eight hours. If you're using the hob it can take about an hour.

Ashley: Okay

Andrea: For this dish we have a bit of vegetables to prepare. So we've got celery we've got carrots we've got onions and of course we're going to be using mushrooms. And we have various seasonings such as Worcester sauce, herbs. We've got bay leaves and parsley. And to give it a little bit more flavour we're going to be using stock cubes. But this one here isn't a low um salt stock cube so we're going to use half of that.

Ashley: Okay

Andrea: And a little bit of tomato puree as well.

Ashley: So the ingredients are listed in the video description below. I wanted to ask Andrea you've got some oil there, does it matter what kind of oil people use?

Andrea: Not really um you could use corn oil, you could use as we've got vegetable oil, you could use sunflower oil.

So the equipment we've got today are chopping boards. As you can see we've got two different coloured chopping boards, here our vegetables chopping board and our red chopping board for meats. We've also got our specialist chopping boards for people that do find it hard to chop.

We've also got our jug, various spoons, a peeler if we are going to peel any of our vegetables and our frying pan. And our slow cooker. Okay Ashley let's get chopping.

Ashley: Great. I'll just move this meat board out of the way.

Andrea: Okay. And I want you to do the onion.

Ashley: Of course. Now I'm going to use this chopping board which is um can be useful for people who have limited mobility in one arm. It will let you, using these spikes, hold the vegetables or whatever you're chopping in place while you're going.

Just do be careful not to hurt yourself on those spikes. You just press it down on there. And at the same time, I've got this knife, which lets you hold in more of a natural position for your wrist. It's just a little bit easier for some people. And then you can just chop like so.

Andrea: Brilliant. I'm going to top and tail these carrots. I haven't peeled them because they've been washed already. They've been washed thoroughly.

Ashley: So you don't need to peel them.

Andrea: Nope. If they're really dirty, yes I would peel them. But I managed to get all the dirt off of them. I'm using a method called the Claw method and the Bridge. So this is the bridge, keeps your fingers away and also it helps if you haven't got a lot of dexterity in your hand. These don't have to be tiny, they can be quite chunky because they are going in the slow cooker.

Ashley: Now we had had a lot of questions from people during the planning stages of this about fatigue, especially while chopping. Is there anything you can recommend?

Andrea: Take a break. Just stop. If you are taking a break while you're chopping your vegetables, just put the vegetables in a bowl with some water and put them in the fridge. That will keep them fresh. If you are actually cooking your meat, make sure you turn the hob off so that you're nice and safe. And just take a break there.

Ashley: Great.

Andrea: Okay.


Ashley: I've heard of another chopping method called the guillotine method. Could you walk me through using that?

Andrea: I can. It's easier if I have my carrots safe it's not rolling around like this for the guillotine method. So I've cut that in half, I keep my fingers away from the knife and I go up and down with the knife. So it's not actually leaving the chopping board, okay?

Ashley: Okay

Andrea: But make sure you don't use a guillotine method if your food's rolling around, because it's not safe.

Ashley: Right

Andrea: Okay. I was going to say, you can see that I'm doing this really slowly. Do it slowly. I've seen people try to copy the chefs off the telly where they're doing it really quickly. Slowly is safer. So Ashley do you want to try and use a guillotine method on this celery?

Ashley: Oh I can.

Andrea: I would start by topping and tailing your celery, because there's and getting rid of the end bits

Ashley: Okay

Andrea: Because they don't look so nice.

Ashley: No. And then I leave the tip on the chopping board and just go straight down.

Andrea: Yep. If you feel that that's moving, what you could do is cut it in half.

Ashley: Oh okay

Andrea: So you're only working with whatever that's

Ashley: Right you feel like you've got a little bit more control then

Andrea: That's right, well done. And to do this method you do need a sharp knife because if your knife is blunt it's going to slip and that's when you're going to end up cutting yourself.


Ashley: Okay, what next?

Andrea: Okay so we're going to start to cook our vegetables. So can I ask you to pass me the measuring spoon?

Ashley: And can I ask why a measuring spoon?

Andrea: We're measuring because it gives us an idea of how much oil we're using. Because you may have had a stroke and you've been told to reduce your salt and your fat. If you just glug it into the frying pan.

Ashley: Which I do do, I won't lie.

Andrea: You don't know how much you're using. By measuring you can control how much oil you're using. Okay. So in this recipe is for two people so I'm going to use about half a tablespoon of oil in this. So we're going to wait for our oil to get warm and one way of testing if it's hot enough, is just get a tiny bit one of your ingredients, just leave it there and wait for it to sizzle. And it's nice to have the oil hot because it seals all the flavours into the ingredients that you're using.

Right Ashley, it's starting to sizzle now so I'm going to add the rest of my ingredients. I'm going to start off by adding celery that I've previously cut and the celery that you lovingly cut a minute ago. And the onion thank you.


And just move these around until the onion starts to get a little bit transparent. Okay, now we can add the carrot. The recipe we've got here doesn't actually have any garlic in it but if you do like the taste of garlic, you can add garlic.

Ashley: Okay

Andrea: Nothing's stopping you.

Ashley: I do like a bit of garlic in food.

Andrea: So when we want to get these to soften a little bit they don't have to be really soft because as I said they're going into the slow cooker and that will do the work. We're going to make these a little bit more interesting by putting a little bit of Worcester sauce in. Now Worcester sauce is really salty so I'm only going to add one teaspoon full in. Make sure I've got a teaspoon full, that's not a teaspoon. Be careful it doesn't come out too quickly.

Ashley: And that's enough to get the flavour in?

Andrea: That's enough, yes.

Ashley: It smells really good already.

Andrea: It does, doesn't it? And let's add one of our bay leaves in as well. Again you can add one, two, it's up to you. It's about giving your food flavour and that's what we're going to use to give the food flavour is our herbs and our spices.

Now I'm putting it into the bowl because the pan's quite heavy. And if you have got limited mobility or you haven't got a lot of strength, this will be the easiest way to do it. Ashley can you pop that into the slow cooker for me, please?

Ashley: Yeah, of course.

Andrea: So I'm going to start preparing the mushrooms.

Ashley: Okay

Andrea: Cutting those up. These mushrooms have been cleaned. Some people like to wash them, some people just like to wipe the dirt off of them.

Ashley: But the important thing is that you clean them.

Andrea: Yes. Again it's about using a knife safely, keeping your fingers away from the knife while chopping. So I'm using lean meat here, just like the vegetables I'm going to test my oil to see if it's hot. So I'm going to just take a little bit of the meat.

Ashley: Oh yeah

Andrea: Yeah it's nice and hot. Resting. Again if you have got weak hands just leave the bowl on the counter. Just move the meat around so it doesn't burn. And we want to get nice and brown. We can add our mushrooms in as well.

Ashley: Okay. Right now?

Andrea: Yep, great. So you can see the meat starting to go brown?

Ashley: Yeah

Andrea: So we're going to add two tablespoons for the puree.

Ashley: There's one. And there's two.

Andrea: Brilliant thank you. You can see the colour of that?

Ashley: Yeah

Andrea: It smells quite nice as well, doesn't it?

Ashley: Really does, I'm getting very hungry now.

Andrea: Good. That's it, all done. So do you want to pop that into the slow cooker as well? And all you need to do is pour that water in.

Ashley: Okay

Andrea: And as I mentioned before, these stock cubes we're using are not low salt. So we're only going to use half of one of these.

Ashley: But if you were using a low salt, you could use a whole one?

Andrea: You could do. So we're going to put a bit of thyme in that.

Ashley: Okay

Andrea: That's fresh thyme so put plenty in.

Ashley: Okay

Andrea: Just break it up with your fingers.

Ashley: That much?

Andrea: A bit more. Don't be scared. And just pop the lid on.

Ashley: Okay that's all in, now what?

Andrea: With this model you just plug it in.

Ashley: Okay.

Andrea: Don't touch the switch because if you touch the switch it goes on to cook and it's going to cook quicker so you just want it on warm so it cooks slower.

Ashley: So on this model, the cook is the rice cooker.

Andrea: That's right.

Ashley: Great. Okay so it's been about four hours should we take a look?

Andrea: Yes let's.

Ashley: Oh that smells really good.

Andrea: It does, it looks good as well.

Ashley: I thought we might plate this up with some of the roast potatoes we made before?

Andrea: Yeah that's a good idea.

Ashley: If you want to check out that video, we'll include it in the description below.

Andrea: That looks nice.

Ashley: It does. Do you want to add the parsley?

Andrea: Good idea.

Ashley: So do you have to add parsley?

Andrea: You don't have to add parsley but it looks good and it gives it more flavour as well. And this as I keep saying it's all about flavour. I know sometimes you don't like a lot of herbs.

Ashley: I'll give it a try.

Oh that's wonderful.

Andrea: That's really nice.

Ashley: Now I notice you've got another slow cooker here?

Andrea: Yes there's lots of different slow cookers on the market. This one here is quite simple. With this model there's only a few settings. If you want it to cook for eight hours you set it on low. If you want it to cook for four hours you set it on high. If you want it to stop cooking you then put it on warm. And it's as simple as that.

Ashley: So that's our beef stew. Please let us know in the comments if you've tried it out for yourself and how many herbs you like to put in it. Like the video and subscribe to our Channel if you'd like to see more content like this. Thanks for watching.