White Bean & Beef Stew

I’ve gotten into the habit of browsing the grocery ads before shopping each week to see what’s on sale and I try to plan around it. This past week, beef stew meat was on sale, so obviously I grabbed some.

I wanted to do something a little less traditional than the standard carrots and potatoes though. I had several ideas, but ultimately settled on this version and I’m so glad I did. The herbs pair so nicely with the beef and the crunch of the zucchini plays well off the softness of the beans.

To flavor this stew, I used Herbs de Provence. Herbs de Provence is a blend of dried herbs commonly used in southeast France. Typically this blend will include: savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano and sometimes lavender. If you don’t have Herbs de Provence, you can use any combination of the herbs listed to flavor it to your taste. Simply add a little of each, taste and adjust as needed. Have fun with it!

I soaked and cooked dry white beans in advance for this. Using dry beans is so much cheaper than buying cans, although certainly less convenient. If you are short on time, you can certainly use canned beans instead.

White Beans SoakingTo use dry beans, you will need 1 1/2 lbs. Rinse the dry beans well, then place them in a bowl full of water. You’ll need a really large bowl and a lot of water. Place the bowl in your refrigerator for at least 12 hours. Drain the water and rinse again. Place them in a large pot or your slow cooker and cover with water. If you’re cooking on the stovetop, bring them to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook 2-3 hours, until tender.
If you’re cooking in your slow cooker, cook them on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
If using canned beans, you will need about 4-5 15 oz. cans. Drain and rinse them before using.

Bean Soup 1 (1)

White Bean & Beef Stew

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb beef stew meat
7 oz. tomato paste
1 tablespoon molasses
2-3 teaspoons black pepper
Salt
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups beef broth
10 cups cooked white beans (Approx. See note above regarding canned vs dry beans.)
3-4 tablespoons Herbs de Provence
3 medium size zucchini, chopped into bite sized pieces

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the beef stew meat in a single layer and cook until brown. (1-2 minutes) Flip the pieces of meat and cook each side until browned.

Season meat with salt & pepper, then stir in the tomato paste and molasses. Add water a little at a time to thin into a sauce. Stir well. Once the mixture begins to simmer, add the garlic and cook just until fragrant. Scrape the pan into a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in the beef broth and white beans. Cook on low for 10 hours.

Once finished cooking, stir in the Herbs de Provence and chopped zucchini. Taste and add more salt and/or Herbs de Provence as needed.

Serve.

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