Last time I used cooking wine, but I couldn't find any in stores this time. I didn't want to buy a whole bottle of wine because I don't have many dishes I would use it in, so I substituted grape juice, red wine vinegar, and beef stock for my recipe. So if you are cooking for some one who has liver problems or is sensitive to alcohol, this would be a great recipe for you. If you do use wine, use one less cup of stock and omit the grape juice and red wine vinegar, using the wine to deglaze the pan.
I also used baby carrots because it's fast and easy. I also love the look they give to the stew and the fact that they get soft without being mushy.
I love this stew, the first time I made it, it was very labor intensive. But with the crockpot it was so easy. We are adding this to our menu meals. I would wager that my stew is much closer to what the peasants of medieval times made than the bourgeois that made it later. But it's still so delicious, it's no wonder this meal has been around so long! If you don't have a crockpot, what are you waiting for? It's my favorite thing in my kitchen. It makes me so happy to know dinner is slowly cooking away while I'm attending to other things. Especially because my kids are more fussy and needy in the evenings when I'm trying to make dinner. In the morning while they are happily playing I can get dinner started by just tossing everything in the slow cooker. I lovemine.
If you're looking for some real quality beef delivered to your door (doesn't get any better than that) check out Snake River Farms!