Slow Cooker Cider Beef Stew has been a longtime family favourite of ours. It’s a beautiful combination of tender morsels of beef bathed in a lovely sweet apple gravy. This recipe makes a big batch, so if you’re not feeding a small crowd, you’ll get a few meals out of it. And of course, as with all recipes here, it’s gluten-free!
When the weather is cool and dreary, a slow cooker simmering with hot stew will give you a treat to look forward to at the end of the day. While I try to keep bone broth on hand for making soups like Borscht, in the freezer if not the fridge, sometimes I run out. With the apple cider/juice base, this is a stew I can make that doesn’t require the broth.
Procedure for Beef Stew
You’ll want to toss the meat with cornstarch and seasonings and brown it in a pan before adding it to the slow cooker. I use an organic cornstarch that’s gluten-free and non GMO. Technically, you could skip this browning step and still have stew. However, it wouldn’t have the beautiful, rich flavour that browning the meat adds. Then, mix the ingredients together in your slow cooker, and your work is done!
APPLE CIDER OR APPLE JUICE?
Apple cider or juice tenderizes the meat while it simmers and gives it a lovely unique flavour. So, that brings us to the question: What is the difference between apple juice and apple cider? Generally, apple cider is freshly squeezed from apples. There may still be some sediment remaining in it, and it is often unpasteurized. In it’s unpasteurized form, it can become alcoholic, brewed as hard cider, if left. Apple juice is filtered, pasteurized, and may have been reconstituted with water from syrup or powder. Either will work in this recipe.
Nightshades are the group of vegetables including potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Some people, including myself, have trouble digesting them. Since I’ve stopped eating potatoes, I have replaced them with sweet potatoes in this beef stew with excellent results. Parsnips work well in it, too.
Here’s a little video to show you the steps:
- 2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons organic gluten free cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 cups apple cider or juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 2 large carrots, thickly sliced
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, sliced
- 1 apple, chopped
- In a large bowl, whisk together cornstarch, salt, pepper, and thyme.
- Stir in beef cubes to coat.
- Heat oil in a 4 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown meat in four batches and set aside.
- When finished, return all meat to Dutch oven and add apple cider, vinegar, and water. Cook, stirring to scrape bits off the bottom, until it comes to a boil.
- Place chopped vegetables and apple in the bottom of slow cooker.
- Pour meat mixture over top. Turn to low setting and cook for 6 to 8 hours or 3 hours on high.