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Pearl onions (Recipe: slow cooker beef stew with potatoes, parsnips and rutabaga)

Slow cooker beef stew

One amazing thing to know about frozen pearl onions:

They're already peeled. Really, nothing else matters. No more crying, no more sniffling, no more burning candles or running your hands under cold water or wearing funny goggles, no more swearing you'll never peel a big batch of tiny onions again. I promise. These will change your life. And if they're good enough for a contessa, they're good enough for me.

Cooking or baking?
Cooking. In many cases you need not defrost before adding to your recipe.

In the freezer, in the original bag, for up to 6 months after opening.

Pantry ingredients in this recipe:
Pearl onions (more facts and ingredient photos)
Ground coriander
Cayenne pepper
Dijon mustard
Tomato paste

Slow cooker beef stew

Slow cooker beef stew with potatoes, parsnips and rutabaga

The first stew of the season always sets the bar for the stews that follow, which means that this will be a good winter for stew! My husband Ted is the stew lover in our house, and he certainly loved this one. Serves 8-10.


3 Tbsp olive oil
3 lb beef stew meat (chuck, bottom round, etc.), cut in large chunks
1 cup flour
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, whole
1 Tbsp thyme leaf, or a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 bottle red wine
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1/2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
4 large carrots, cut into chunks
8 oz frozen pearl onions
1-1/2 lb small red-skinned new potatoes, cut into chunks
1 large rutabaga, wax coating removed, cut into chunks
4-5 parsnips, peeled, cut into chunks
2 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot


Heat oil in a large nonstick frying pan. Dry the meat with paper towels, dredge lightly in flour and, adding a few pieces at a time, brown meat thoroughly on all sides. Remove the pieces as they're browned and add them to the slow cooker.

Deglaze the frying pan with a few tablespoons of the wine, and scrape up the brown bits from the pan. Add those to the slow cooker, along with the onion slices, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, the rest of the wine, mustard, tomato paste, peppers and paprika. Set the cooker to LOW and cook for 3 hours. Add the vegetables, and cook for 5 hours, stirring once or twice to distribute the contents evenly. Set heat to HIGH. Remove 1/4 cup of the liquid from the cooker, and whisk together with the cornstarch. Return the mixture to the cooker. Continue to cook on HIGH for a total of 1 hour.

Like all stews, this one is better the next day, but it's delicious on the day you make it, too. Serve in large bowls with some crusty bread.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Beef, ale and onion stew
Lamb stew
New England shrimp boil
Pumpkin stew

Other recipes that use pearl onions:
Balsamic roasted pearl onions, from The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
Parsnip gnocchi with pearl onions, peas and mushrooms, from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
Chicken with chanterelles and pearl onions, from Smitten Kitchen
Glazed pearl onions in port, from Sassy Radish
Lamb tagine with pearl onions, dates, and sugar snap peas, from Habeas Brulee

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Sure does look like fall in a bowl to me. Can you dish me up a big heaping bowl? Please?

I did. I loved it.

That is so heavenly looking that I am going to make it my screen saver! Oh how I love parsnips! and Rutabaga! (turnip by another name or are they actually different?)

I wish wish wish I had checked todays post out earlier....i had the cooker out to make your 'famous' yellow pea soup but this looks much nicer (if thats possible!!) Will have to try it in the next few days. many thanks

Renee, come on over. You'll have to fight my husband for it.

Rupert, yes you did!

Carol, a rutabaga is a type of turnip.

Milton, this is a real stick-to-your ribs recipe. And if you don't have a slow cooker handy, you can find stovetop versions of beef stew on this site, too.

Frozen pearl onions! What a find! I gave up on them years ago... always substitute shallots - much easier to peel. I love the parsnips and rutabaga - my kind of stew!

Mmmmm... love a good bowl of stew on a chilly evening. This looks amazing!

That looks and smells marvelous. I love all those root vegetables.

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