Light olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup fresh pearl onions, trimmed, peeled
3 good sized hefty gold potatoes, peeled, cut up
3 good sized carrots, peeled, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 cup dry red table wine
4 cups organic beef broth (I used Organic Better Than Bouillon- check labels!)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1-2 teaspoons dried Italian or French herbs, to taste (thyme, sage, rosemary)
1 bay leaf
Ground pepper, to taste
First- salt the cubes of beef on all sides. Wait a few minutes (discuss the looming Writer's Guild of America contract strike and soberly sip green tea).
Get your slow cooker situated and turned on to High.
Heat a dash of light olive oil in a deep heavy pot over medium-high heat. Brown the beef cubes on all sides to sear in the flavor, using long tongs to turn the pieces. This doesn't take but maybe five minutes, or so. Remove the beef and add it to the Crock Pot.
Add in the garlic, pearl onions, potatoes, carrots and celery. Pour in the wine and broth. Stir. Add the balsamic, herbs and ground pepper. Cover and let the magic happen. The stew is ready when the beef and vegetables are tender- about 4 to 5 hours if cooked on High.
Taste test the broth and adjust for your taste buds- does it need a tad more salt? A pinch of sugar (or dab of agave)? More ground pepper? The flavors should be balanced, warm and inviting. Ready?