The dirty little secret about cookbook writers is that when they (okay, me) are on a deadline to finish writing a project they (me again!) don't actually cook.
Oh sure, they eat really really really well during recipe-testing, but when they are in the midst of edits and the kitchen table has papers stacked where dinner dishes should be, they sometimes forget all about dinner.
In this case, it's a good thing, because I made up a pretty phenomenal beef dinner using only the odds and ends of stuff I had in the house because I may have (accidentally) forgotten to go grocery shopping.
2 pounds frozen solid and maybe even frostbitten stew meat
1/3 cup soy sauce (LaChoy is gluten free)
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons dried onion flakes (or 1 large onion, peeled and diced. We didn't have any.... gah.)
2/3 cup beef broth
Use a 4 or 6-quart slow cooker. Your food will cook a bit faster in a 6-quart because it's not as filled -- that's okay, just check it after 7 hours.
Dump everything into the pot. Because my meat was frozen, I didn't have the opportunity to stir it. No worries.
Cover, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or on high for about 5 or 6 hours. If you are home during the day and can stir it once to disperse the ingredients, go ahead and do so after a few hours. If you are not home, don't worry about it. Just stir well before serving.
Your meat is finished when it can break apart with a spoon. Serve with mashed potatoes and/or roasted vegetables (pictured is roasted carrots from my mom's garden and sweet potatoes tossed with olive oil and sage).
Major winner. I was actually sweating bullets the day I put this into the pot because I couldn't take the time to leave to go get dinner-type-food and I had thrown away all the chicken in the house because of the recall. I needed to use the stew meat up, and I wanted to finish up the broth before it went bad.
Everything about this worked -- the maple played nicely with the salty soy sauce to create a beautiful barbecue-teriyaki sauce. Now that I know this works so well, I'm going to be using it more often instead of leaning towards honey or brown sugar. What a nice surprise!!
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Happy Slow Cooking!!