Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Crispy Breadcrumbs

  • Author: Kate Jackson
  • Yield: 4


This recipe for warm and wonderful beef stew skips the potatoes in favor of creamy polenta and crispy breadcrumbs!


For the Stew

  • 1 pound beef chuck cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (yes, chicken broth, not beef)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 cups diced carrots (about 1 inch)
  • 1 leek, white and light green part, chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups cooked polenta (start this about an hour before the stew is done)

For the Breadcrumbs

  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (whirl 1-2 slices of bread in your food processor)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet and sear the beef cubes on all sides.
  2. Add beef to slow cooker with 3 tablespoons flour, broth, tomato paste, thyme and allspice. Cook on high setting for one hour.
  3. Add carrots and leek and cook for another 6 hours on high or until beef is tender.
  4. Whisk in flour (I like to shake it in through a small fine mesh strainer to avoid any lumps) and cook for another 5-10 minutes to thicken the sauce.
  5. While the sauce is thickening, make the breadcrumbs by heating a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add breadcrumbs and stir until brown and crispy.
  6. Taste and season stew with salt and pepper.
  7. Ladle polenta into warmed bowls, top with stew and garnish with breadcrumbs and parsley. Serve at once.