Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Slow Cooker Hoisin Beef Stew

Spring may be just around the corner, but it’s certainly taking its time here in Nashville. Flowers have yet to bloom, and the sky has taken on a seemingly perpetual shade of gray. Needless to say, things are looking a little gloomy around here. Instead of being depressed about, well, the depressing weather, I am instead choosing to look on the bright side – from a gastronomical perspective if not a meteorological one.

Gray skies and cool temperatures are the perfect excuse to try out warm and cozy recipes. If the recipes simmer all day in a slow cooker and fill your house with rich, meaty, mouthwatering aromas, so much the better. Culinary good times can certainly be found indoors, at least until sunny skies lead us outside to picnics and barbecues.

This recipe is a new spin on a classic beef stew. The traditional beef, onions, carrots, and celery are mixed with Asian flavors for a stew with a uniquely savory, slightly sweet flavor profile. If you haven’t tried it before, hoisin sauce is sometimes referred to as Chinese barbecue sauce. It is a little sweet, a little tangy, and a little spicy; how sweet, tangy, or spicy depends on the brand you use. You can find hoisin sauce in the Asian foods section of pretty much any big grocery store. They also carry it at places like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and of course, Asian markets.

Slow Cooker Hoisin Beef Stew
Adapted from Whole Foods

This recipe calls for marinating the beef overnight. If you do not have time, just skip that step. The stew will still be delicious.

1/2 cup beef broth (I used chicken broth)
10 oz. bottle hoisin sauce**
1 tsp. hot sauce
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 1/2 lbs. cubed round or chuck stew beef
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 cup carrot sticks or baby carrots
2 ribs celery, chopped

** I really like Whole Foods brand hoisin sauce because it is less sugary sweet than other brands I’ve tried in the past.

In a large bowl or a wide, shallow dish, whisk together the broth, hoisin sauce, hot sauce, garlic, and ginger.

Add the beef, onions, carrots, and celery. Stir to coat evenly.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to proceed, transfer the beef mixture to a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours, or until the beef is very tender. You can also cook the stew on high heat for 3 to 4 hours.

Serve hot with steamed white or brown rice. Green vegetables like broccoli or snow peas go nicely with the stew.

Serves 4.


  1. Where's a picture of the slow cooker? That was our shower present to you...so glad you're using it, and with much fancier dishes than I ever do!
    - Hope, Olivia,and Hannah

  2. Thanks ladies, I do love my slow cooker :)



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