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CROCK-POT STRACOTTO 
5-6 lbs. bottom round beef
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart tomato puree
2 or 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
6 small white or 2 very large yellow onions, peeled
1/2 lb. baby carrots

Wash beef round, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in Crock-Pot.

Cover with water and set on high until it begins to simmer (do not allow it to boil!) until foam rises. Skim off the foam and discard. Add tomatoes, garlic, onions (if using small boiling onions they may be left whole), celery, and carrots.

Turn Crock-Pot to the temperature setting that will allow it to just barely simmer (steam rising from the top is enough) and allow to cook at this temperature for 5 to 8 hours, or until the meat is tender and the broth is flavorful.

At the 5 or 6 hour mark, check to see if any additional flavorings need to be added to the broth. If so, you can add beef bouillon or soup base, pinch of basil and oregano (or use fresh leaves if you have them), salt and pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, etc. to your taste, being careful not to overdo! It's best to leave your stew slightly under-salted allowing guests to add salt as they choose at the table. If you prefer a thicker stew, a tablespoon or so of flour may be mixed into the broth an hour before serving (to allow the flour to cook).

If your Crock-Pot is always at a boil when covered, then it is better to cook this in a large Dutch oven on the stove instead.

Makes 10-12 servings.

Leftovers may be chopped up and added to the gravy. A can of tomato paste and some new Italian seasonings may be added the following day when reheated, and the beef bits can be served over wide noodles or pasta. Add a bell pepper or two to the sauce, if desired.

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