Whoa. Just, WHOA. I’ve never smelled anything as lovely and drool-inducing as the scent in my house the day I made this Slow Cooker Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew. It was absolutely incredible. It had me checking the clock every 15 minutes to see if it had been four hours yet. I couldn’t wait to lift the lid and take a quick taste.
Brown the Meat First for Exceptional Flavor
Unlike most slow cooker recipes where you just dump in the ingredients and press go, this Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew is a little more involved, but well worth it. Browning the meat before it goes into the slow cooker caramelizes the proteins and adds a depth to the flavor that you simply can’t get just by letting it boil away in the cooker. It also toasts the flour so you don’t get that gluey flour flavor in the final thickened stew.
How to Add Flavor to Beef Stew
I love to amp up the flavor in my beef stew with the magic soy-Dijon combination! I added a little soy sauce and Dijon to the broth, but kept the ratios low so they didn’t dominate. If you’re not a fan of Dijon, don’t worry. The final product does not taste at all like mustard or Dijon, it simply has a deeper, more complex flavor because of it. Trust me. Oh, and a healthy dose of garlic and rosemary doesn’t hurt, either. ;)
How Many Does This Recipe Serve?
Lastly, I’m listing the serving cost per cup so that you can decide your serving size. The recipe makes about 10 cups total. If you eat the stew solo, your serving will probably be more like a cup and a half, but many people serve stew over rice or egg noodles, which will further stretch your dollar. Considering how expensive the beef was, the overall Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew recipe stayed very affordable. Win!
What Do you Serve with Beef Stew?
Beef stew is a pretty well rounded meal on its own, but you’ll want to sop up every drop of that deliciously thick brown gravy. I suggest serving your Slow Cooker Beef Stew with some bread on the side, like my Focaccia Rolls, or over a bowl of either rice or noodles (egg noodles are best).
Slow Cooker Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew
- 4 medium carrots (1/2 lb.) ($0.55)
- 1/2 bunch celery ($0.65)
- 1 medium onion ($0.36)
- 2 lbs red potatoes ($1.00)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced ($0.32)
- 1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat ($9.06)
- Salt and pepper ($0.05)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour ($0.04)
- 2 cups beef broth ($0.30)
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard ($0.24)
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce ($0.06)
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.10)
- 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.02)
- 1/2 Tbsp dried rosemary ($0.15)
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme ($0.05)
- Dice the onion and slice the carrots and celery. Wash the potatoes well and cut them into one inch cubes. Place the onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes into a large slow cooker.
- Place the stew meat in a large bowl and season liberally with salt and pepper. Add the flour and toss the meat until it is coated. Set the floured meat aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Sauté the garlic in the hot oil for about one minute, or until soft and fragrant. Add the floured meat and all the flour from the bottom of the bowl to the skillet. Let the beef cook without stirring for a few minutes to allow it to brown on one side. Stir and repeat until most or all sides of the beef pieces are browned. Add the browned beef to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the vegetables.
- Return the skillet to the burner and turn the heat down to low. Add the beef broth, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, rosemary, and thyme to the skillet. Stir to combine the ingredients and dissolve the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Once everything is dissolved off the bottom of the skillet, pour the sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker. The sauce will not cover the contents of the slow cooker, but it's okay. More moisture will be released as it cooks.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours. After four hours, remove the lid and stir the stew, breaking the beef into smaller pieces as you stir. Taste the stew and adjust the salt if needed. Serve hot as is, or over a bowl of rice or pasta.
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!
How to Make Slow Cooker Beef Stew – Step by Step Photos
Start by chopping your vegetables and getting them into the slow cooker. I used 1/2 of a one pound bag of carrots (about 4 medium), one medium yellow onion, and half of a sleeve (or bunch) of celery.
I also used about two pounds of potatoes. Wash the potatoes well, then cut into one-inch cubes (no larger). I like to leave the skin on for more color and texture.
Place all of your chopped vegetables in the slow cooker.
I picked up this package of beef stew meat, which is about 1.5 pounds. This is supposed to be the “dollar stretcher”, but it’s still $5.49/lb.! I stretch my dollars with vegetables, thank you very much. Anyway, this stew meat still had bones in it, so watch out for that.
Place the meat in a large bowl and season liberally with salt and pepper.
Then add 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour and stir to coat. The flour will thicken the stew and when it browns in the skillet, it will also create a nice caramelized flavor.
Mince four cloves of garlic and sauté them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat for about one minute, or until the garlic is soft and fragrant. A thick heavy skillet that isn’t non-stick will work best for browning the meat. I used cast iron.
Add the prepared meat and all of the flour from the bottom of the bowl. Let the meat brown in the skillet. Browning won’t happen if you stir a lot, so let it cook for a few minutes before stirring, then stir once and let it cook some more. Once the meat is browned on all sides (it won’t be cooked through), add the meat to the slow cooker and stir it to combine with the vegetables.
Return the skillet to the burner and turn the heat down to low. It should be crusted with flour, garlic, and meat drippings. That’s where the flavor is, so we’re going to dissolve it into a sauce.
Add 2 cups beef broth, 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 Tbsp dried rosemary, and 1/2 tsp dried thyme to the skillet. Stir the sauce over low heat until it is well combined and all of the crust has dissolved off the bottom of the skillet.
Pour the sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker, place the lid on top, and cook on high for four hours. (the sauce will not cover the ingredients in the slow cooker, but more liquid will be produced as the stew cooks.)
After four hours it will look like this and smell so good that you’ll probably be going out of your mind! The beef is super tender and the juices have melded beautifully with the vegetables and rosemary Dijon sauce.
Give the Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew a good stir to mix it up and break up the tender beef pieces as you go. This will distribute the thickened flour and the whole stew will get a bit thicker and lighter in color. Taste the stew and adjust the salt if needed.
Serve the Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew as is or spooned over a bowl of hot rice or pasta. THIS will keep you warm and full on cold winter or autumn days!