I have a Hamilton Beach 6 qt Set 'N Forget Programmable slow cooker, and I keep having the same problem– when I try to make beef stew, the beef comes out almost inedibly tough, and the veggies don't soften. I can't for the life of me figure out what's wrong!
My cooking method:
Put in 1.5ish lbs stew beef– the stuff that comes from the store
already cut up into pieces.
Add carrots and celery, chopped about 1/2 – 1 inch long.
Add splash worsterchire sauce and cajun spices.
Add enough water to fill the crock pot halfway (I did this because
last time I didn't use as much and thought that might be the source of
the problem– but apparently not.)
Set crock pot on low until it reaches 160* (within about an hour and a half), and then leave on warm through the rest of the night (it maintained the temperature at 160*),
for a total of 11 hours.
I've read that acidic ingredients can prevent vegetables from getting soft, but that wouldn't explain the beef. Anyone have an idea what the problem might be?
And on that note… does anyone have any suggestions for what to do with a couple pounds of tough, cooked beef, hard carrots, and celery?