When browning beef for a stew (whether you’re making it in a slow cooker, or a regular old pot or Dutch oven), it’s less important to get all the sides of the cubes of beef barely browned than it is to get a couple of sides nicely caramelized. Browning all sides is a bit painstaking, and I’m absolving you from the task.

If you don’t have time to brown the beef at all, you still end up with a flavorful stew, but it’s really worth it.

Parsnips look like pale carrots, beige in color, with a wider bottom near the root. They have a wonderful nutty sweetness. Look for smooth, hard parsnips with no sprouting. You could also use all carrots, or mix in potatoes or other root vegetables instead.

SLOW COOKER BARBECUE BEER BEEF STEW

3 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1½-inch cubes

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. olive or vegetable oil

1½ cups chopped onion

1 cup barbecue sauce, homemade or store-bought

1 cup beef broth

¾ cup beer

2 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 cup ½-inch pieces peeled parsnips

1 cup ½-inch pieces peeled carrots

1 lb. egg noodles

Season the beef evenly with salt, pepper and the garlic powder.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, saute the meat until it is browned, about 8 minutes for each batch. Don’t crowd the beef cubes in the pan. Set the meat aside.

Pour off all but 2 teaspoons of fat from the pan and add the onions. Sauté them for 3 minutes, until lightly browned, and add them to the slow cooker. In the slow cooker, mix together the barbecue sauce, beef broth, beer, honey and mustard. Add the parsnips, carrots and browned beef to the slow cooker and stir to combine.

Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, until the meat is tender.

When the stew is ready, prepare the egg noodles according to package directions. Serve the stew hot with noodles.

Makes four to six servings.