2½–3lbsstew beef (chuck eye, etc) cut in 1-inch chunks
2–3 tbspall-purpose flourto dust the beef cubes
4-6carrotspeeled and cut into ½-inch rounds
1–1½lbspotatoescut into 1-inch chunks
14ounceslow-sodium beef broth
½tspground black pepper
1½cupsfrozen peas [optional]
Start by trimming about 3 pounds of boneless chuck roast, or if you're feeling lazy, buy a good quality pre-cut stew meat. Working in batches, dust the beef cubes lightly with flour, and cook in hot oil over medium-high heat in the large nonstick pan. Get a good brown on at least half the edges. As batches are browned, move them to the slow-cooker, but keep any oil and liquid in the pan.
While browning the beef, peel carrots and cut them into 1/2 inch thick medallions. Scrub 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of red potatoes and cut into chunks. Place the vegetables in the slow cooker as you have them ready.
Chop the onions. Crush or mince 6 cloves of garlic. When all the beef has been browned and added to the slow cookers, cook the onions in the same pan until softened and starting to brown. Stir in the minced garlic, and let cook for just a minute or so.
Now add the tomato paste, beef broth, and soy sauce. Stir well and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add this mixture to the slow cooker also.
Sprinkle salt, pepper, thyme, and tapioca over the ingredients in the slow cooker. Stir to mix everything evenly. Bury the bay leaves in the ingredients.
Cover and cook 1-2 hours on high, then reduce heat to low and cook for 4-5 hours more. [Optional: if you'd like to include frozen peas, add them about 1 hour before you plan to serve.]
This classic beef stew will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator, or for about 3 months in the freezer.