Always a crowd pleaser, especially on a Sunday!

Serves 4

500g stewing beef, cut into bite sized pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled and slices
1 celery stick, chopped finely
1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
150g mushrooms, sliced (optional)
500ml beef stock (I use Knorr, Touch of Taste.  It has a nice rich flavour.)
Large fresh thyme sprig
To thicken – gravy granules or cornflour
Salt and Pepper

Place all the ingredients except the thickening ingredients into the slow cooker and cook on low for approximately 8 hours.  Add the thickening ingredients of your choice 30 minutes before the finishing time.  Either add one tbsp of gravy granules or combine a tsp of cornflour with a dribble of water.  Add to the slow cooker and combine throughly.  The gravy granules will add a saltiness to the dish so taste the gravy before adding any further salt.  Season with salt and pepper and finish cooking.

Serve with mashed potato and seasonal vegetables.

Handy Hint
If you want the stew to thicken as it cooks, coat the beef in plain flour and pan fry it before you add it to the slow cooker.  Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan, dust the beef in plain flour and brown in the pan.  Add to the slow cooker.  Deglaze the frying pan with some of the stock or a splash of red wine. You want all the flavours from the pan in the slow cooker. Bring the stock or wine to the boil and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Transfer to the slow cooker and combine thoroughly with all the other ingredients.