Slow Cooker Beef Stew
2 1/2 lbs chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and diced into 1-1/2 inch cubes
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large yellow onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
3 medium celery stalks, chopped (1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 cups low-sodium beef broth or chicken broth, divided
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried1 (7-inch) single sprig rosemary (or 3/4 tsp dried)
1 1/2 lbs yellow potatoes, diced into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (don't use thin carrots)
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch (depending on how thick you like it)
1 1/2 cups frozen petite peas
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Working with half of the beef at a time, dab both sides dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sear in skillet until browned, turning once halfway through, about 4 - 5 minutes total. Transfer beef to slow cooker. Add an additional 1 Tbsp oil to skillet, repeat with remaining beef. Leave excess oil in skillet.
Add remaining 1/2 Tbsp oil to oil in skillet (there should be about 1/2 tbsp left after searing beef), reduce burner to medium. Saute onions and celery 3 minutes, then add in tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
Pour 1 cup beef broth into skillet along with Worcestershire, soy sauce, thyme and rosemary. Add potatoes and carrots over beef layer in slow cooker, then pour broth mixture in skillet into slow cooker along with remaining 2 cups beef broth. Season lightly with salt and pepper (add more to taste at the end). Cover and cook on low heat for 7 - 8 hours.
In a small bowl whisk together cornstarch with 1 1/2 Tbsp cold water until smooth. Pour into slow cooker and gently stir, cover and cook on high heat for 20 - 30 minutes until thickened slightly. Stir in peas and half of the parsley. Serve warm garnished with remaining parsley.