Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Vegetables and Rice is inspired by The Hunger Games Trilogy and the movie based on the first book, The Hunger Games. I was tasked with creating a recipe based on both as part of event from Cook the Books and Food 'n Flix. Heather from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen hosted the event.
Rereading The Hunger Games Trilogy for this cooking project, I realized how fixated Katniss Everdeen was on food. People who wonder where their next meal will come from – if it comes at all – usually are.
However, in the movie, The Hunger Games, Katniss wasn’t all that fixated on food. You never got the feeling that Katniss or any of the kids from the poorer districts were starving. They all looked too healthy!
Cooking The Hunger Games – Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Vegetables and Rice
To help me decide what to make for the Cook the Books/Food ‘n Flix event, I took notes on the various dishes and foods that are mentioned in the book. One dish that caught my eye was described as “hot grain smothered in beef stew” or just hot grain and stew.
So I decided to make an easy slow cooker beef stew recipe based on Real Simple’s Slow Cooker Classic Beef Stew. I modified their slow cooker dish to make a recipe for slow cooker beef stew that was gluten free, contained more root vegetables and peas, and was served on brown rice.
An easy gluten free way to thicken up Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Vegetables and Rice
The original recipe for slow cooker beef stew called for dredging the beef chunks in all-purpose flour. To make it gluten free, I substituted a gluten free all-purpose flour. My two favorites are Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour and Bobs Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour.
While the gluten free flour thickens the stew, it does add a calories – fine if you're Katniss and need some fattening up.
However, if you’re watching your calorie intake, here’s a healthier, gluten free way to thicken the stew.
- Omit the flour, and season the beef with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat. Brown the meat as directed. Follow the rest of the recipe.
- About 30 minutes before serving, mix 3 tablespoons corn or rice starch with 3 tablespoons of liquid from the slow cooker.
- Add the mixture to the stew and stir.
- Put the lid back on the crock pot and turn up the heat to the High setting.
- After 30 minutes, stir and serve stew over rice.
More of This Mama’s Tips for making Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Vegetables and Rice
Cook this in a 6 or 7-quart slow cooker. My favorite is the Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker or the Crock-Pot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker.
To save time when making this recipe for slow cooker beef stew, use already diced onions that you can find in the salad section of the grocery store. You can also use frozen onions since they’re already chopped as well. No need to defrost them.
I used baby carrots since they’re already peeled and small enough for the stew.
If you’re gluten free, make sure you choose a gluten free beef broth. I like Imagine Organic Beef Broth and Pacific Natural Foods Organic Low Sodium Beef Broth.
If you don’t drink wine, use more beef broth instead.
Also, while I’ve served this with brown rice that was cooked with the leftover beef broth I had on hand, you can use white rice, quinoa, or wild rice in this Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew recipe. For those who aren’t gluten free, try it with couscous or farro.
Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Vegetables and Rice
- 4 pounds bottom round, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced (2 cups)
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
- 1 pound baby potatoes, washed (not peeled)
- 1/2 pound baby carrots
- 4 parsnips, roughly diced
- 2 stalks celery, roughly diced
- 2 cups gluten free beef broth
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 16 ounce package frozen peas
- cooked brown rice (enough for 6 to 8 people)
- Coat the beef in the flour. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meat, a few pieces at a time, adding more oil as necessary. Throw out any unused flour.
- Transfer browned beef to a large capacity (4 to 6 quart) slow cooker.
- Add the diced onions to the skillet. Cook over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and coat the onions. Transfer the onion and tomato mixture to the slow cooker.
- Pour the wine into the skillet and scrape up any browned bits. Pour the liquid into the slow cooker.
- Stir in the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, celery, beef broth, salt, thyme, and bay leaf.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 7 1/2 hours, or on high for 4 hours.
- About 15 minutes before serving, add the peas and cook until heated through.
- Serve on top of brown rice.
- Serving size: 1 bowl
- Calories: 520
- Calories from Fat: 177
- Total Fat: 20 g
- Saturated fat: 5 g
- Unsaturated fat: 15 g
- Sodium: 1061 mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 31 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Protein: 48 mg
- Cholesterol: 127 mg
Originally published on January 24, 2013. Updated with new pictures and information.