On the last day of January, I made the final slow cooker recipe for my January 2015 Cooking Challenge: Beef Marsala Stew. The recipe came from the December 2014 edition of Cooking Light, which had granted the stew front-cover status:
My mom gifted me a subscription to Cooking Light last year, and I’ve loved getting my monthly delivery in the mail. Browsing online for new recipes is fun and convenient, but I still find turning the pages of paper-based magazines and cookbooks preferable. What can I say? I’m wired for the last century, not this one.
I normally would have bypassed this recipe, as it requires additional cooking on the stove both before and after the stew simmers in the slow cooker. But I suspected that my husband would love it, and frankly, it looked darn delicious in that cover shot.
The recipe calls for cipollini onions, which were not to be found in any of my nearby grocery stores, so I subbed a 14-oz bag of frozen peeled pearl onions instead. The only other change I made to the recipe was at the end when it says to boil the cooking liquid for 6 minutes until it reduces to 2 cups. I only had about 1.5 cups of cooking liquid left after I strained the stew, so I just brought it to a boil and immediately added the wine-flour “slurry.” I am not sure why I ended up with so little cooking liquid; perhaps I let the wine-broth mixture cook down too far in the beginning stages of the recipe. At any rate, the paucity of liquid did not affect the final result of the stew, which was fantastic. Here is the final, thick-and-hearty result in the Dutch oven just prior to serving:
Cooking Light suggested serving the stew atop Fluffy Mashed Potatoes, so I whisked up a batch to serve as the “bed” for the stew. This was the only weak part of the meal. The potatoes were fine–but nothing spectacular–on their own. I liked how they let the stew shine when eaten together, but I will try another mashed potato recipe next time I make this stew. And make it again I shall. This beef stew was worth the time and hassle of its preparation, earning 4.5 stars from my husband and me. It was a last-minute entry, but it won the race. Beef Marsala Stew beat out the slow cooker competition to be my highest-rated slow cooker recipe for the month of January!