Chinese five spice adds flare to this dish and elevates ordinary ingredients into a supper that you won’t soon forget. When you crave stick-to-your ribs goodness, serve an easy stew that will have everyone wanting seconds.
Here’s a savory stew that got a huge thumbs up from all my kids. I’ve made it both on the stove top and in my slow cooker. I don’t always plan ahead far enough to get my slow cooker going early enough in the day, so it’s a relief to know I can make this stew on the stovetop too. Next time I hope I can double it so that I can have leftovers to freeze or to enjoy for lunches during the week.
Five Spice Beef Stew (with Slow Cooker Option)
- 1.5 pounds (600 g) boneless beef, cut into 2-cm cubes
- 1/2 of a medium yellow or white onion, chopped
- 3 large carrots, cut into 2-cm pieces
- 1/2 of a medium tomato, diced, optional
- 2 shallots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 large celery stalks, chopped
- 6 to 8 large napa or savoy cabbage leaves, cut into 2-cm wide strips
- 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
- sea salt to taste
- soy sauce (to taste)
- fish sauce, optional (to taste)
- 4 slices fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, divided
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot flour, whisked with 4 Tablespoons cold water
- oil or bacon drippings
- 1/4 cup white wine (or broth)
- Heat oil or bacon drippings in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle salt and five spice powder over meat and toss to coat. Brown beef on all sides and transfer to covered pot or slow cooker.
- Add more oil to skillet if necessary and reduce heat to medium. Add onions and shallots, and celery, and saute for several minutes before adding garlic. After 1 minute, add carrots, tomato (if using) and white wine. Stir in 1 cup broth; continue cooking the vegetables for 5 minutes.
- Transfer vegetable mixture to pot or slow cooker. Pour in remaining broth and top with cabbage. Let simmer on low, covered, on the stovetop for 1 hour and 30 minutes or for 4 to 6 hours in a slow cooker (low setting). Both carrots and meat should become tender and cooked through. In the last 30 minutes, stir in cornstarch slurry and simmer uncovered until the liquid thickens to a sauce. Season with fish sauce and soy sauce to taste. Serve stew warm with rice or potatoes.