This slow cooked Middle Eastern Beef Stew is a hearty and flavorful stew made with cubed beef, vegetables and a mixture of warm and aromatic herbs and spices. This is a set it and forget it crock pot dinner that turns out incredibly flavorful and warming- plus it includes my family's favorite essential ingredient for all our Middle Eastern cooking!
My recipe for crock pot beef stew is inspired by my family's Syrian heritage and traditional cooking. It's a blend of some of our favorite dishes: kebab hindi, stuffed peppers and stuffed cabbage. It's full of complex flavors and aromatic herbs and seasonings, plus our secret ingredient for making it absolutely irresistible- pomegranate molasses.
What I love about this is dish is just how easy it is. It's a dump and go crock pot dinner with very little preparation aside from chopping some vegetables! It's full of savory beef, garlic, peppers and tomatoes, along with a few traditional Middle Eastern seasonings like allspice, mint and parsley.
Slow cooker Middle Eastern beef stew is a comforting and satisfying dish that's perfect for gatherings or family meals. While the specific ingredients and flavors vary from one region to another, this hearty and flavorful stew is a traditional and iconic dish in the Middle East that is sure to impress.
This recipe is made with many traditional flavors of a Middle Eastern Syrian dinner:
- Beef: cubed stewing beef or chuck roast cut into cubes. You can also use boneless lamb roast cubes.
- Pomegranate Molasses: this is a staple ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking and it adds an irresistible sweetness to the dish. You can find it in international food stores but it's very easy to make at home too.
- Bell Peppers: a mix of green and red bell peppers cut into thick slices.
- Tomatoes and Tomato Paste: any type of fresh tomatoes works and your favorite brand of tomato paste, to help thicken the sauce into a gravy.
- Onion: I prefer a sweet onion but a yellow onion works too.
- Garlic: freshly minced garlic or roasted garlic.
- Allspice: use ground allspice, not the whole allspice berries.
- Dried Mint: you can substitute with fresh mint but use three times as much fresh as dried.
- Parsley: fresh parsley is added to the stew to serve.
How To Make Crock Pot Middle Eastern Stew
STEP 1: Add stewing beef, sliced bell peppers, chopped tomatoes, sliced sweet onion, minced garlic, tomato paste, pomegranate molasses, allspice, dried mint, salt, pepper and water to the slow cooker. Stir well. Cover and set to low for 6 hours.
STEP 2: Uncover, stir and use a digital thermometer to ensure the beef has reached 165℉. Continue to cook on low in 30 minute increments if not. Once done, stir, taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
STEP 3: Transfer to a serving dish. Mix in ¼ to ½ cup fresh chopped parsley. Serve over white or saffron basmati rice or in pitas.
Middle Eastern beef stew is traditionally served with white rice or saffron rice and sometimes accompanied by flatbreads. It's also fantastic served over grains like barley and farro. It makes a delicious stuffing for Greek or Middle Eastern pitas, too.
Some great sides are homemade pitas chips and sliced pita bread or crackers, which can be dipped into the sauce. Syrian-style braided cheese, Syrian potato salad and simple garden salads are also easy sides to serve with beef stew. My family serves many of our Syrian dishes with baklava and apricot paste for dessert, and I highly recommend trying these both!
How To Store
Store Middle Eastern beef stew in a covered container in the fridge for up to 7 days for optimal quality. It can be frozen in freezer-safe storage bags for up to 6 months.
- Avoid Overcooking: cook your stew long and slow so the meat becomes tender. But don't cook for too long or it could become tough and the veggies could disintegrate into the sauce. If you like the peppers crispy, put them into the crock pot during the last hour of cooking.
- Use Low: cook on the low setting for a longer duration rather than the high setting for a short time. Cooking beef on high could make it become tough.
The best cut of beef for stew is one that is tough and marbled with fat, as these qualities contribute to the rich, flavorful, and tender results you want in a stew. Some of the top choices for beef stew are chuck roast, bottom round roast, beef brisket and shank.
It isn't necessary to sear the meat in a pan prior to putting it into the crock pot, although some prefer to take this extra step. To sear, add a small amount of olive oil to a frying pan heated to medium-high. Add the beef cubes and sear for 5-7 minutes, flipping halfway through. I prefer not to sear the meat so as to keep this dish a true one-pot dump and go meal.
Slow Cooker Middle Eastern Beef Stew
- Add stewing beef, sliced bell peppers, chopped tomatoes, sliced sweet onion, minced garlic, tomato paste, pomegranate molasses, allspice, dried mint, salt, pepper and water to the slow cooker. Stir well. Cover and set to low for 6 hours.
- Uncover, stir and use a digital thermometer to ensure the beef has reached 165℉. Continue to cook on low in 30 minute increments if not. Once done, stir, taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
- Transfer to a serving dish. Mix in ¼ to ½ cup fresh chopped parsley. Serve over white or saffron basmati rice or in pitas.