Welcome to Better Than It Looks, a new series in which we discuss the recipes we tried (and maybe failed) to execute, and the foods that were served to us by someone perhaps more talented than ourselves.

Something possessed me to buy a Crock-Pot last week. My dad has casually suggested I acquire a slow cooker for years, so I don’t know why I finally pounced. Well, that’s only a half-truth. I bought a Crock-Pot because instead of simply thinking about it, I actually got on Amazon and looked for one this time. Seeing that I could buy a Crock-Pot for $15.99, (at the time) I figured that I’ve spent $16 on much dumber things.

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Anyway, so now I have this Crock-Pot. I had some very lofty visions about what my inaugural dish would be, but then I remembered my culinary capabilities and lack of patience. I decided to keep things reasonable for the first go-around and settled on beef stew instead of potentially ruining some large cut of meat with my attempt.

I googled “beef stew crock pot,” and scrolled down to a recipe called “Slow Cooker Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew.” I like rosemary and garlic. Seemed good enough.

Having gone out on Friday night, I knew I wouldn’t be making my 9:30 am gym class the next morning, so I decided to go to the 11:30 am one instead, which gave me plenty of time to chop up all this shit.

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The recipe I followed did note that it was slightly more involved than a normal stew recipe. The chopping I expected, but then I had to brown the meat (the necessity of which having been hotly debated in the Jezebel office) and simmer the broth a little bit.

FINALLY (after about 45 minutes), I left my future stew in the slow cooker and four hours later, this is what we got.

I threw in some frozen peas after the fact, because I read that they’d get all mushy if I cooked them with the rest of the stew.

It must be said, I am rather proud of myself for my first attempt. The recipe also called for brown sugar, which I didn’t have and didn’t want to buy. The broth was good, but I could tell that the sugar probably would have added a little more ~balance~ but actually, what the hell do I know?

Either way, it was a good bowl of food that I would serve to a close friend or a boyfriend—someone who has enough baseline affection for me and isn’t looking to be particularly impressed by my cooking, just fed.

This stew felt like a small step in my continuing journey towards fully realized adulthood and I wanted to share it with those close to me. As you can see, my immediate family was not nearly as engaged with my beef stew as I’d hoped they’d be.

So now I have about two quarts of pretty good beef stew remaining. I will probably freeze the rest of it because I’ve never been a fan of leftovers and maybe I can trick myself into thinking it’s a new meal in a couple weeks. Good things came from this beef stew.

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What’d you consume this week? Are you also a fan of the slow cooker? Do you brown your meat first? Share your recipes, photos, and tips in the comments below, and we’ll check back in next week with another cooking adventure.


Contact the author at kara.brown@jezebel.com .