Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Nolan Ryan Beef Holiday Giveaway...Featuring Balsamic-Red Wine Crockpot Beef Stew

Food-loving friends: I am posting today with a heavy heart for all the families in Connecticut who are dealing with the aftermath of yesterday's tragic and mind-numbing school shooting. I debated whether to do this post today, but ultimately decided to do so as planned. To me, food is the ultimate comforter and healer...and I strongly believe that fellowship with friends helps you get through the sad and stressful times. 

Consider today my early Christmas gift to you…I’ve got a fabulous and comforting beef stew recipe to share that cooks in the crockpot,  leaving you to take care of the gazillion holiday tasks on your to-do list. If that’s not enough to get your attention? I’ve also got a very special giveaway for you featuring Nolan Ryan Beef. If you love beef, this prize pack is right up your alley! More on the giveaway in just a bit – let’s talk about this fabulous beef stew first. Nolan Ryan Beef asked me to share a crockpot recipe with you using one of their cuts of 100% natural Texas beef. It was a chilly day, so beef stew seemed comforting and appropriate…but not just any beef stew. I wanted to make a stew that was just a bit different and had a rich depth of flavor. To do that, I tweaked a recipe that I found on Martha Stewart’s website.

I made a few strategic substitutions and additions to her intriguing Beef Stew…and came up with my personal spin: Balsamic-Red Wine Crockpot Beef Stew. I replaced the water that the recipe called for with a combination of red wine and beef broth for added depth of flavor. I also added mushrooms to her veggie selection and placed sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary on top just before putting on the lid. Finally, I added a cornstarch slurry before the final 30 minutes of cooking to thicken the stew a bit per our preference. My kitchen smelled amazing while this cooked…and I knew I had a winner of a stew on my hands! 

Balsamic-Red Wine Crockpot Beef Stew
adapted from Martha Stewart
Step 1: Add the following ingredients to a large crockpot: 1.5 lbs. lean beef stew meat, 2 tbs. balsamic vinegar, 1 tbs. tomato paste, and 2 tbs. flour. Stir well to completely combine the ingredients and coat the meat. Add the following veggies: 1 cup baby carrots, 6 small red potatoes cut in half, ½ yellow onion cut into 1-inch pieces, and 5 quartered cremini mushrooms.
Step 2: Add 1 cup red wine, 1 cup beef stock, and salt & pepper to taste. Give everything a stir to combine. Top with two bay leaves, 1 large sprig fresh thyme, and 1 large sprig fresh rosemary. Turn crockpot on high and cover. Cook for 3.5 hours.
Step 3: After 3.5 or 4 hours cooking time, uncover and remove the herb sprigs. Make a cornstarch slurry by whisking 2 tbs. cornstarch and 1/3 cup water in a small bowl. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the stew, cover and cook for another hour. This makes the stew velvety and slightly thickened. Ladle into bowls and serve.
Hands down, this is the best beef stew I’ve ever made!  It comes together in no time, then the crockpot does all the work! The meat cooked up perfectly tender…lots of beefy flavor and juicy thanks to a slow braise in the crockpot. The addition of balsamic added a mellow tang in the background that worked perfectly with the red wine. It was earthy and complex…perfect soul-satisfying food on a chilly Texas night. This is the perfect recipe to start on a Sunday morning…by the time halftime of the big game comes, it’s ready to eat. You could easily serve this “as is” since it’s essentially a meal in a bowl. The sauce was so good that I made a pot of steamed rice to serve the stew over…but feel free to sub mashed potatoes or some cheesy grits/polenta instead. All would be wonderful!

Now…about the giveaway. I know you didn’t forget! Nolan Ryan Beef is giving one of you a fabulous Nolan’s Holiday Favorite Package. This package is a $99 value and includes some fantastic goodies, including:
·          Two 12-ounce rib-eye steaks
·          Two 16-ounce bone-in NY strip steaks
·          A package of Nolan Ryan's Original Smoked Sausage
·       Nolan Ryan's Signature Steak Knife Set
·          An 8-inch carrot cake from Society Bakery in Dallas
·          Special Bonus: an autographed Nolan Ryan baseball!

So…entering this giveaway is a bit different. There are two ways to enter, so you can have up to two entries:

(1)     Like Nolan Ryan Beef on Facebook AND leave a comment on their fan page letting them know that The Weekend Gourmet sent you.
(2)    Follow Nolan Ryan Beef on Twitter AND send the following tweet: "I just entered @TheWeekendGourm’s giveaway for Nolan’s Favorite Holiday Package from @nolanryanbeef!"

Here’s the catch: you have to ACT FAST!! I will randomly pick a winner TOMORROW in Sunday 12/16. I will notify the winner via Facebook and/or Twitter. This is important: you have until Monday morning to get me your shipping info. Nolan Ryan Beef wants to get the package shipped to the winner early next week so they’ll have it in time for the holidays. You can also purchase Nolan’s Holiday Favorite Package at their online store if you'd like to put one of these packages under the Christmas tree for your favorite carnivore.


  1. I did number 1 and left a comment on their FB page.

  2. I did number 2 and followed and tweeted!

  3. I liked Nolan Ryan Beef on facebook and left a comment and tagged you in it.

  4. I followed Nolan Ryan Beef on twitter and sent a tweet:

  5. I followed Nolan Ryan on twitter and tweeted about the giveaway!

  6. I followed Nolan Ryan on facebook and left a comment on his page.

  7. I did my part on facebook and gave you the credit. Nolan Ryan is going to adore you!! Susan Glenn

  8. I've liked on facebook and told them I came via you :)

  9. Followed and tweeted - great giveaway

  10. Excellent stew, Wendy! I liked and messaged AND followed and tweeted :) You have such fun giveaways!

  11. wow! jealous i missed this one! darn sick kid keeping me busy offline!;}
    p.s. she is all better btw!:)

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