Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Beef Stew with Gnocchi

Gnocchi is one of my favorite things.  Imagine a dumpling crossed with mashed potatoes.  Yeah.  Yum.
Yum factor aside, I love gnocchi because they make my life easier.  You can find them pre-made in a shelf stable package in the international isle of your grocery. They are great with pasta sauce of any type, but also as a replacement for dumplings or potatoes in soups and stews.  My daughter loves them as a side dish, sauteed in a little oil with salt and pepper.  They are yummy AND versatile!
This is one of my people's favorite meals, especially this time of the year.  It is meaty and warm and satisfying.  It also uses gnocchi (see how nicely I tied that in?), and the Crock-Pot.  It is a super easy weeknight make-ahead meal.  All you have to do when you get home is toss in the gnocchi and make a salad while they cook! 

Beef Stew with Gnocchi
1 lb. beef stew meat cut into 1" chunks
3 Tbsp. flour
salt and pepper to taste
3 medium carrots cut into 1/4" coins
10 oz. pkg. mushrooms, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz. pkg. frozen pearl onions
1-1/2 c. beef broth
3/4 c. dry red wine
3/4 tsp. dried thyme
17.5 oz. pkg. gnocchi
Toss together meat, flour and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper.
Place prepared meat in slow cooker with carrots, mushrooms, garlic, onions, broth, wine and 1/2 tsp. thyme.  Cover and cook on high 5 hours or low 7 hours.
Stir in remaining thyme along with gnocchi and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and cook an additional 30 minutes or until gnocchi is tender.
*Disclaimer* I did not have mushrooms... or pearl onions... or red wine.  Instead I chopped a regular onion, used white wine, and added frozen peas and green beans with the gnocchi.  It was still wondrous.  Be brave.  Cooking is very forgiving.

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