My first recipe for an oven stew years ago was called Stay-in-Bed Stew which called for canned tomato soup and canned peas. The canned tomato soup was fine – the canned peas, not so much. They seemed to quite take over the flavour of the stew and so were soon deleted from the ingredients list!! Then I discovered another recipe, basically the same method, calling for tomato sauce and red wine. A great improvement!! The original amount of 1/4 cup red wine was good but I have increased it in this version. It could easily be cut back and/or replaced with additional beef broth to keep the liquid the same. This recipe goes together quickly, especially if you choose not to brown the meat. To keep prep time to a minimum you could use unpeeled small white or red potatoes and baby carrots although I prefer the larger carrots peeled and cut in chunks. Do try the celery seeds – they add a subtle and delicious taste to the stew. Fresh sprigs of thyme can be used instead of the dried – simply push the springs of thyme into the stew and remove the woody stems before serving – the flavour is wonderful. The unusual ingredient used to thicken this stew is tapioca which makes a beautiful gravy – no need to thicken at the end.
This recipe works very well in the slow cooker on Low for 8 – 10 hours. Browning optional – not necessary. Put it together the night before – it’s so easy the next morning.