I have so many cookbooks that invariably a book I really like gets pushed to the bottom of the pile, and later I rediscover it. That's exactly what happened when I made this Garlic Lover's Crockpot Beef Stew with Olives, Capers, and Tomatoes, inspired by a recipe from The Olive and the Caper, a book about Greek Cooking written by Susanna Hoffman. The inspiring recipe calls for 100 cloves of garlic, and although I used less than that, this is a stew for people who really like the flavor of slow-cooked garlic. If you've never had garlic that's been cooked for a long time, it's sweet and delicious, and this stew smelled amazing while it was cooking.
Besides the garlic, there are Kalamata Olives, capers, bay leaves, Greek Oregano, and a touch of red-wine vinegar adding a lot of flavor to the tomato-based stew. I cooked this on high for a little over four hours, but if you're looking for something that can cook on low all day, this recipe would be perfect for that. I do recommend browning the beef, which you can do the night before and keep it in a container in the fridge overnight, just in case daylight savings time is making your mornings a little more rushed than usual!
Cut the beef into 1 inch pieces and brown well in olive oil. Prepare one cup each of sliced Kalamata Olives and Garlic Cloves. (I used peeled Christopher Ranch Garlic Cloves for the garlic, which made it easy.)
Deglaze the pan with the beef stock and then simmer until it's reduced to 3/4 cup. Gather the capers, bay leaves, diced tomato, tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, and also some Greek Oregano (which didn't make it into the photo!) You can do all this preparation the night before and keep ingredients in the fridge in a covered container if your mornings are busy.
Here's the stew at the beginning of the cooking time and how it looked when it was done.
Garlic Lover's Crockpot Beef Stew with Olives, Capers, and Tomatoes was updated with better photos March 2015, and just for fun, here's the photo from the original post back in 2008. Obviously I was into close-ups in those days!
Garlic Lover's Crockpot Beef Stew with Olives, Capers, and Tomatoes
(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe adapted from The Olive and the Caper by Susanna Hoffman.)
I used my Crock-Pot 3-1/2-Quart Slow Cooker for this recipe, but it could have been a little smaller. This freezes really well, so if you only have a big slow cooker I'd just double the recipe. You could also cook this on top of the pan in a heavy dutch oven if you have a stove that will simmer at very low heat.
2-3 lb. beef chuck roast, cut into pieces about 1 inch (I used 2 1/2 cups beef cubes)
1-2 T olive oil (for browning beef)
1 can reduced-sodium beef broth (or use 1 1/2 cups homemade beef stock)
1 cup garlic cloves, peeled and cut into lengthwise slivers
1 cup Kalamata Olives, cut in half lengthwise
2 T capers, rinsed
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried Greek oregano
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
1 small can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
2 T tomato paste (optional, but it does bump up the tomato flavor)
3 T red wine vinegar
fresh ground black pepper to taste
In heavy frying pan, heat 1 T oil over medium-high heat and brown half of beef cubes, turning several times so it's well browned on all sides. Put beef in crockpot and brown the rest of beef, adding more oil if needed. Put second batch of browned beef cubes in crockpot. Add beef broth to frying pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and simmer until beef broth is reduced to 3/4 cup. Add reduced broth to crockpot.
While beef is browning, cut the garlic into slices and cut the Kalamata Olives in half. Add garlic and olives to crockpot along with rinsed capers, bay leaves, oregano, canned tomatoes and juice, tomato sauce, tomato paste (if using), red wine vinegar, and pepper.
Cook on high for about 4 hours or a little longer, until meat is tender and flavors are well blended. (This could also be cooked on low for 8-9 hours.) Serve hot.
South Beach Low-Carb Suggestions:
Served alone, this stew is a perfect main dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet or any other type of low-carb eating plan. I'd love this with Pureed Cauliflower with Garlic, Parmesan, and Goat Cheese. If you want a salad, I'd pick something like Mediterranean Salad with Hummus Dressing or Spinach Salad with Marinated Garbanzo Beans and Feta Cheese.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More Delicious Ideas for Garlic Lovers:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet or Low-Carb friendly; check ingredients.)
World's Easiest Garlicky Green Beans Stir-Fry ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
44-Clove Garlic Soup ~ Smitten Kitchen
Roasted Broccoli with Garlic ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Garlic-Lover's White Bean Soup from Farmgirl Fare
Cauliflower with Garlic and Lemon ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Steamed Shrimp with Garlic Oil from Rasa Malaysia
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)