Derval O'Rourke: Slow-cooker beef stew with smash and bake potatoes 

Plus cooking tips to beat the chill 
Derval O'Rourke: Slow-cooker beef stew with smash and bake potatoes 

This beef stew is my ultimate winter warmer. 

It’s the time of year to get cosy and warm. I have nine November cooking tips to share — and a recipe that is perfect for the slow cooker.

Slow and Low

This is a perfect time of year to break out the slow cooker. You can get the most out of any cut of meat by cooking it 'slow and low' to obtain the most tender and juicy bites. You can opt for wine and stock to braise your meat or one of my favourite ways to use my slow cooker is for curries.

Experiment with spices and herbs

Adding different flavours to your food can really change up your meals. I love to sprinkle cinnamon on roasted vegetables — or adding orange extract to a stew can be delicious.

Embrace what is in season

Turnips, carrots and parsnips are all in season now and full of flavour. Super for stews and casseroles. Parsnips and carrots are particularly good for roasting and making soups.

A souper tip

Making soup is such a great idea at this time of year. If you have time try to roast your vegetables before you put them in your soup, it really improves the flavour.

Organise your freezer

I recently spent an hour clearing and organising my freezer — genuinely one of the most productive hours I’ve had. I’ve used it way more since then and find it really handy for meals.

Get your cupboard staples

At this time of year I use lots of coconut milk, tinned beans/lentils/tomatoes, noodles, dried pasta/rice etc. It’s a great help to stock up on these.

Thicken your stews a different way

If you are looking for an alternative to thickening your stew or soup rather than cream or a roux then consider lentils, beans or potatoes. Cashew or almond butter is also an interesting way to add flavour and richness.

Ice cubes to beat sniffles

My go-to when I have a cold is hot water with lemon, ginger and honey. It’s super easy to prep these in an ice cube tray and then just pop a couple of cubes into boiling water as needed.

Batch your basics

The foods you make all the time e.g. sautéed onions with mince, make a big batch of that, portion it up and then freeze. This will really help you have a head start on loads of meals.

Wellness Tip

This is a great time of the year to soak in a bath. Add in Epsom salts for their magnesium absorption. Aim to use 2 cups per gallon of water and soak for at least 15 minutes. Be careful as the bath may be a little slippy.

Movement of the week

Standing on one leg is a great balance exercise. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your weight equally distributed on both legs. Slowly remove one leg from the ground. Hold the position as long as you can maintain good form, up to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Slow cooker beef stew with bake-and-smash potatoes

recipe by:Derval O'Rourke

This slow cooker stew tastes better the day after you make it

Slow cooker beef stew with bake-and-smash potatoes



Cooking Time

4 hours 0 mins

Total Time

4 hours 0 mins




  • 400g lean stewing beef, cut into 3cm pieces

  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 2 onions, finely sliced

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 litre beef stock

  • 2 tbsp flour

  • Bake-and-Smash Mash:

  • 4 small potato/sweet potato

  • 4 tsp maple syrup

  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

  • salt and pepper


  1. You will need a slow cooker with 3.5-litre capacity. Preheat the slow cooker (if recommended by the manufacturer).

  2. Place the beef, carrots, onions, garlic and bay leaves in the slow cooker. Use a whisk to blend the beef stock and flour. Pour the stock into the slow cooker, using just enough stock to cover the ingredients. Set the slow cooker to high and cook for 4 hours, stirring a few times.

  3. Prick the sweet potato and bake at 180°C for 35-40 minutes or until tender. Mash with the maple syrup and the thyme, salt and pepper and serve with the stew. 


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