This recipe is one that came from Kayln's Kitchen site. She adapted the recipe from the book: The Best Recipes in the World book, by Mark Bittman (p 381). This is a very good beef stew recipe, that is nice and hearty...especially on a cold day.
Beef Stew with Dried Shitake Mushrooms
(Crockpot or Stove top Recipe)
2 c beef stock, heated to boiling
2 c dried shitake mushrooms (more or less to your liking) 1 large onion, chopped
2 lb beef chuck, all fat trimmed, cut into pieces about 1" or slightly larger
1-2 T olive oil
1/2 c water (use 1 c for stove top cooking)
1/2 c slow roasted tomatoes, chopped (If you don't have roasted tomatoes, use 1/2 cup diced sun dried, or 1 can diced tomatoes. NOTE: If using diced tomatoes for Crockpot version, drain tomatoes well, measure liquid and reduce the amount of stock by that amount.)
2 T tomato paste (remember you can freeze the rest.)
3 dried bay leaves
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Bring beef stock to a boil in large pot. Break dried mushrooms into 1" pieces (this is easier than cutting them after you soak them). When the stock is at boil remove from heat and add the mushroom pieces and allow mushrooms to soak while you brown onions and meat.
In large skillet, heat 1 T olive oil and add chopped onion. Saute about 5 minutes, until onions are softened but not browned and then place in crockpot or stockpot.
In same pan add rest of olive oil (if needed) and brown meat, turning so it browns well on all sides. (Don't rush this step. It will take about 15 minutes to brown well.) Add meat to Crockpot or stockpot. Pour 1/2 cup water into hot pan, use a turner to scrape all browned bits off, and add liquid and meat bits to crockpot or stockpot.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, mushrooms and beef stock, and bay leaves.
For Crockpot: cook on low 5-6 hours, until meat is tender and flavors are well combined. (Don't be tempted to add more liquid to the Crockpot, even if it looks like it won't be enough. Foods release liquid while cooking in crockpots).
For stove top: simmer on low about 2 hours. You may need to add more water for stove top.
Season to taste with salt, fresh ground black pepper and Enjoy!