This beef stew cooked for almost 24 hours. I kid you not.
I decided to experiment with the "slow-cooker" temperature and "slow-cooker" mode on my convection oven (the only oven I have). So, at 6:00 p.m., I slid in the stew. At 10:30 p.m., I checked on it to see if it needed more water. Nope. The carrots weren't even getting cooked! I thought maybe "slow cook" meant 10 hours or more, so I left the oven on as I slept. The next morning, the carrots still weren't cooked! I turned up the heat to 325 degrees and put the oven on "bake" mode instead of "slow cooker." When I came home from work, I had a thick, rich, delicious, flavorful beef stew. This is what's inside:
1 pound beef, cubed
3 carrots, in 1" pieces
1 onion, roughly diced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 package mushrooms
2 small sweet potatoes, cubed
2 taro (about 1 pound), cubed
8 cloves garlic (I really love garlic), diced
1/3 cup cornstarch
6 cherry tomatoes
Spices: (I just liberally sprinkled a lot of all of them into the stew...you can use whatever spices you want, really. I might have gone overboard, but it came out tasting really good!)
2 cubes chicken bullion
1 package Japanese ramen dashi (it was all I had for stock!)
2 cups water
thyme (used more sparingly than the other because I don't like it)
- Mix cornstarch with liberal amount of all spices. Dredge cubed meat in cornstarch mixture. Heat wok over a huge flame with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When oil is hot, add half of diced garlic. Add beef when garlic is golden. Brown meat, only letting each cube brown once per side. Use chopsticks to turn meat. Set meat aside in baking dish. It doesn't matter if the garlic is burned, it'll still taste good later.
- Clean wok. Heat oil. Add remaining garlic. Add onion. Sprinkle sugar over onion. Carmelize. Meanwhile, cut remaining ingredients. Add all to baking dish.
- Boil water in UNWASHED wok. Dissolve bullion and soup stock in boiling water. Pour over ingredients in baking dish. Liberally add more spices such as basil, honey, pepper, and salt.
- Cover baking dish and cook for a REALLY, REALLY long time on 300 degrees. stirring and adding water occassionally. Turn up to 325 for last two hours. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes if the stew is too water. Add cornstarch mixed with water to stew if it's still too watery, or just bake uncovered for a longer time.
Eat with french bread. I totally ate half a loaf for dinner.
Because I had a lot of leftover taro (my baking dish was too small), I sliced the taro, pan fried it, and poured pan-reheated stew over it. Mmm!