If there's one thing Joe loves for dinner, it's big hunks of meat so I wasn't surprised when he bookmarked this recipe in my Sandra Lee Slow Cooker cookbook. The recipe is very basic but what makes it unique is the addition of Chinese Five Spice Powder. I had never used nor tasted it before so it wasn't until I bought the bottle that I learned that the powder contains anise, star anise, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Upon a little Wikipedia-ing I learned that the mixture is designed to incorporate the five basic flavors of Chinese cooking - sweet, sour, bitter, savory and salty. It smelled strongly of anise and I was immediately concerned that Joe wasn't going to like it. I went ahead anyway, and sure enough he wasn't crazy about it. We determined that its the cloves he doesn't like. Oh well. I didn't even try it, as unlike Joe, I am NOT a fan of big hunks of meat in my meals. But if you enjoy the flavors in five spice powder, this would make a nice fall meal.
Five Spice Beef Stew
2 lbs stew meat
1 lb baby carrots
3/4 cup beef broth
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes with garlic and onion
1 tbsp Chinese five spice powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients through five spice powder in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours on low. Season with salt and pepper and serve with mashed potatoes.