Easy-as-anything slow cooker meat stew

    5 hours 20 min

    This started out as a simple beef stew recipe of my mother's when I was growing up. I've adapted it to suit my own tastes, to accommodate a variety of different meats, and to make in a slow cooker. The leftovers are perfect for freezing for future lunches, and it's very easy to prepare and cheap to make; ideal when you have limited time and budget.


    Cornwall, England, UK
    44 people made this

    Serves: 6 

    • 900g very lean meat, cut into large chunks
    • plain flour, as needed
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 1 large onion, diced
    • 500g potatoes, cut into large chunks
    • 1 large parsnip, cut into halved slices
    • 2 large carrots, cut into halved slices
    • 1/2 medium or large swede, cut into chunks
    • 1.4L stock
    • instant gravy granules

    Prep:20min  ›  Cook:5hr  ›  Ready in:5hr20min 

    1. Preheat your 4.5 litre or larger slow cooker to the high setting.
    2. Season some plain flour with salt and pepper. Coat your meat (unless using sausages) with the seasoned flour, making sure to cover it evenly and completely.
    3. Mix up your onion, potato, parsnip, carrot and swede so that all of the vegetables are intermingled.
    4. Layer the floured meat and mixed vegetables evenly into the preheated slow cooker, starting with a layer of meat. Once it is all in, season the top generously with salt and pepper. Entirely optionally, you might like to sprinkle some herbs appropriate to your meat and stock, but it's not necessary.
    5. Pour all of the stock over the meat and vegetables. It will initially look like there is far too much, but that's normal.
    6. Cover the slow cooker with the lid, and leave to cook on high for 4 hours. Be sure to keep an eye on it, as occasionally the stock can bubble up and get rather frothy. Remember also NOT TO REMOVE THE LID unless absolutely necessary, as this will allow a lot of heat and moisture to escape, requiring a longer cooking time and resulting in a less juicy stew.
    7. After 4 hours, remove the lid and sprinkle the gravy granules evenly over the surface of the broth. Once it's all in the pot, stir it gently until all of the gravy is dissolved and dispersed throughout the broth, with no powdery lumps.
    8. Optionally you may like to place some uncooked suet dumplings on top of the stew at this point. But it's entirely up to you.
    9. Once the gravy is stirred into the stew, and dumplings are added if using, replace the lid on the slow cooker and continue to cook on high for a further 45 minutes to allow the stew to thicken.
    10. Heat large bowls, and serve piping hot, garnishing with fresh herbs and black pepper to taste.


    You can use almost any meat, though I personally prefer chicken, lamb, beef, and sausages - 450g is the absolute minimum amount of meat you should use, but if you really like meat and money is no obstacle, try and double that for a really good stew.
    For the potatoes, I prefer red baking or heritage varieties.
    If you find parsnip too bitter for your taste, you can replace this with a whole celeriac, cut into chunks.
    For the stock, use chicken stock for chicken or pork; beef stock for beef, lamb or sausages.
    Use enough gravy granules to make 1.2L (2 1/2 pints) of gravy (this is highly dependent on your choice of gravy brand and how thick you like your stew; be sure to read the back of the packet and use as much as it suggests appropriate - as with the stock, change your gravy type to suit your meat choice).


    Don't forget - if keeping leftovers for later, separate the stew into smaller individual portions inside airtight containers or freezer bags, and immediately put into the refrigerator - do not leave it out on the side to cool, or try to cool it in a single large container, otherwise you risk food poisoning. Once chilled you can keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days, or you can then freeze the stew and keep it for up to 2 months. Obviously, take care when reheating it to ensure that it's hot right through.

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    Reviews in English (2)


    being from cornwall myself many years ago this reminded me of a stew my mother made. not having a slow cooker in those days it was made on a range and left to simmer for days comeing home from school was a pleasure to have a bowl. i will be giving this one ago thanks.  -  17 Jan 2014


    Loved this recipe, very easy to understand with excellent instructions for the slow cooker newbie. This large family have just finished our first bowlfuls now and the lads are already requesting seconds! I was hoping to have enough left over to zap with a handwhisk and turn into a soup bowl for tomorrow's lunch...I doubt that'll happen now Thank you so much!  -  27 Mar 2014