It’s already mid-October and the first rains of the wet season in California have started. The weather just makes me wants to snuggle up with a comforting bowl of something out of the slow cooker. This recipe hits the spot for all of the above! Flavored with savory herbs like fennel and thyme, this stew is packed with flavor. I especially like the bite of acid that comes from the Worcestershire and red vine vinegar. While this is optional, I like serving this stew with toasted sourdough croutons. The croutons soak up the flavorful broth and are just really delicious. If you’d rather go lower carb however, you can skip the croutons. You can also turn this recipe into more of a soup by adding a few more cups of stock to get a thinner consistency. The fact that this is a slow cooker recipe makes this stew simple and easy to throw together on week nights. I like to garnish each bowl with Parmesan, Romano or an aged white cheddar.
Beef & Bacon Stew with Sourdough Croutons
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 4 stalks celery diced
- 4 carrots diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 10 red potatoes diced
- 1 tbsp fresh Fennel minced
- 2 tsp dried Oregano
- 1 tbsp fresh Thyme minced
- 1 Bay leaf
- 5 slices uncured bacon diced
- 1.34 lbs. ground beef can be increased to 1.5 lb
- 3 tbsp Worcestershire
- 1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 4 cups beef or chicken stock add more if thinner consistency is desired
- 30 oz tomato sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 slices sourdough or more depending on desired serving size
- Shaved Parmesan Romano or aged white cheddar, for garnish
In a saute pan, add the bacon and cook until the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a 6 quart slow cooker.
In the same pan, use some of the grease to brown the beef. Crumble apart as it cooks and then transfer to the slow cooker.
Remove any excess bacon or beef fat from the pan and melt the butter. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until just translucent, about 7-8 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, fennel, oregano and thyme. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Transfer the vegetable mixture to the slow cooker.
Add potatoes, bay leaf, tomato sauce, Worcestershire, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and beef stock to the slow cooker.
Cook 7-8 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.
When ready to serve, toast the slices of sourdough and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Serve each bowl with a handful of croutons and garnish with parmesan, romano or white cheddar.