Packed with nutritious and budget-friendly ingredients, a bowl of this Beef, Bean and Bacon Stew delivers a big dose of protein from the beef and beans, along with plenty of filling fiber (something most of us are lacking). Let it cook all day, then dig in and give a happy, contented sigh.
This stew is hearty riff on a soup that appears in our book, Everyday Gluten-Free Slow Cooking. I cut down the broth, added celery and switched up the seasonings a little—including adding some smoked paprika, one of my all-time favorite spices. Browning meat prior to slow cooking is not always necessary of course, but in this case I like the enhanced flavor and color it provides. Feel free to swap the beans for others, and as for the bacon, if you’d rather leave it out, go ahead—stews are flexible!
- cooking spray
- 4 slices bacon
- 2 pounds beef stew meat, fat trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 large celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 15.5-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15.5-oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
- 1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground thyme
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon liquid aminos seasoning (such as Bragg's) or gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup reduced-sodium (or unsalted) gluten-free beef broth
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional
- Coat the inside of the slow cooker crock with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, then transfer cooked bacon to paper towels to drain, but leave the fat in the skillet.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high. To the fat in the skillet, add the beef and garlic. Brown the beef on all sides, cooking about 5 minutes, then transfer beef and garlic, along with any cooking juices, to the slow cooker crock.
- In a large mixing bowl, add all remaining ingredients except for broth and parsley (onion through pepper) and stir to thoroughly combine. Crumble the cooked bacon into the bowl and stir to combine. Add the mixture to the slow cooker crock on top of the beef (do not stir; leave the vegetable mixture in a layer on top of the beef).
- Pour the beef broth over the top. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. Before serving, stir well to combine all ingredients. Garnish each portion with a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley, if desired.