Slow-Cooker Mediterranean Beef Stew
Obviously, it’s easier to avoid batch-browning the beef before it goes into the cooker. But how do you compensate for the lost flavor that browning provides?
Why This Recipe Works
We based this slow-cooker stew on the traditional French dish daube Provençal, which uses a whole bottle of red wine, letting it reduce slowly on the stovetop while the stew cooks. Since the slow cooker doesn’t allow for much evaporation, we reduce the wine to a thick, sauce-like consistency before it goes in. Flour helps thicken the stew, and tomato paste adds body and flavor. We discovered that we could skip the tedious task of browning the beef (a cubed chuck-eye roast) by increasing the meaty flavor in the stew with soy sauce and more tomato paste. Carrots, onion, and canned tomatoes are beef stew staples, while herbes de Provence, strips of orange zest, and kalamata olives—added only at the end to preserve the bright flavor—bring Provencal flair.