Beef stew with wine & vanilla

Happy December! It is amazing how quickly it came. It is also amazing how quickly people put up their holiday decorations. One day everything is normal while the next, everything is transformed into a holiday wonderland with lights everywhere! I have been experimenting with a couple of different slow cookers last week. My old one isn't great, so I am in the market for a new one. I borrowed one for two reasons: 1) to see if I liked it. If you have any suggestions for a brand or features I should be looking for, let me know in the comments! 2) I needed another one to make a large batch of pulled pork for our team holiday party...

The recipe for the pulled pork is a secret right now. Actually, let me rephrase that... Making pulled pork is really easy so the spice rub is a secret. But here is a recipe for a stew I made a few days before hand! It is inspired by this recipe. Stews are pretty awesome in the winter time, they are hearty, warm and easy to make. Just throw everything in the slow cooker, turn it on, set the timer, go do your thing and come home to deliciousness!

Beef Stew with Wine & Vanilla

Serves 4-5


  • ~700g stewing beef
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup stock
  • 1.5 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet or pot. Sear beef over medium-high heat, just a minute or so on each side. You might need to work in batches depending on the size of your pan. remove from heat and set aside
  2. Layer the bottom of the slow cooker with sliced onions and add the beef
  3. In a container or a bowl, mix tomato paste, stock, balsamic vinegar and vanilla extract until combined, then add to the slow cooker along side the wine
  4. Add cardamom, pepper, salt and cinnamon stick
  5. Cook on low for around 6 hours, or until the beef is fork tender but does not fall apart. This will vary based on your slow cooker
  6. Optional - you can remove the cinnamon stick after ~4 hours if you like
  7. If you need to thicken the stew, remove the sauce from the slow cooker, place in a pot and bring to the boil to reduce. Make sure you do not do that with the beef so it does not get tough!
  8. Serve with Mashed yams and braised kale