My beef stew is never the same twice. You see, I usually have some odd number of potatoes and carrots hanging around in my fridge, but never an exact ratio. I watch for some sort of roast meat to go on sale. I either have some leftover pizza, marinara, or tomato sauce waiting to be used up. And the spices? Those just depend on the day. Sometimes it's basil and garlic. Sometimes the bay leaf dominates. Occasionally a little bit of oregano gets a turn. The fun thing about beef stew is that there are no exact rules. Just play and have fun. Try some thing new.
That is what I did one day. A brand new bottle of dried Herbes de Provence arrived in my kitchen the same day that I needed to use up some leftover pizza sauce. To me, it sounded like casual and sophistication at a crossroads, but I sniffed a whiff of one, then the other, then the first again and determined it was worth a shot.
And it was. Even the littlest gherkin asked for seconds and thirds. And so we've actually repeated this particular version a few times.
So go ahead, try out any spice you like. It just might be the day for discovery.
This one was ours:
3 lbs. London Broil or Chuck Roast, cubed
3 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 lb. baby carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup pizza sauce
1 cup water
2 Tbsp. dried minced onion
1 tsp. dried Herbes de Provence
2 tsp. salt or to taste (I like to add 1 tsp before cooking, then add any additional salt before serving)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
(I usually add a few cloves of garlic, but I happened to forget on this particular day. Throw some in, if it suits your fancy.)
Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for 4-6 hours, or until cooked through.