Thursday, November 14, 2013

Apple Cider Beef Stew

Fall means lots yummy flavors, and a particular fall favorite in our household is apple cider. While this recipe is not exactly one of the kids' preferences, it is growing on them, and I think the cider is the reason. It makes this stew both savory and sweet. This simple meal is easily thrown together in the morning when I know that we're in for a busy night (which, for us this school year is Wednesday evening, when Mia has her dance classes).


  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil (I like EVOO.)
  • 4 carrots, chopped (The original recipe also suggests parsnips as an alternative -- haven't tried it.)
  • 2 medium red potatoes, chopped (I have also used 4 small potatoes)
  • 2 small apples, cored and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (Firm apples like Granny Smith or Gala work best, in my opinion. Also, my apples are usually a bit larger.)
  • 1/2 white onion (The original recipe says 2 WHOLE onions -- That is a LOT of onion, which I cannot get away with in this house! Also, I am not sure why you would want that much onion, anyway.)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 cup apple cider (or apple juice will work in a pinch!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons instant beef bouillon granules (I have also made it with bouillon cubes.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (I don't usually measure this -- just a dash.)


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet and then brown the stew meat, half at a time. Drain off fat. (I also like to caramelize the onion while I brown the beef because this makes it sweeter.)
  2. In a 3 1/2 to 5 quart slow cooker, place carrots, potatoes, apples, and celery. Sprinkle tapioca on top. Then add meat (and onions, if you like them caramelized, too). 
  3. In a small bowl, combine the apple cider, water, bouillon granules, dried thyme, and pepper. Pour over the contents of the crock pot.
  4. Cover and cook on low heat for about 8-10 hours or on high heat for around 4-5 hours. I can usually get away with a little bit shorter cooking time, if needed, too.

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