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Cranberry Beef Stew

1/3 c Shallots; thinly sliced
1 Clove garlic; minced or pressed
8 oz Small mushrooms; cut into quarters
2 c Fresh or frozen cranberries unthawed
1 Dry bay leaf
2 3/4 To 3 lb beef round tip; lean boneless, cut into 1-inch cubes or rump may also be used
1/3 c All-purpose flour
1 T Brown sugar; firmly packed
1/2 ts Pepper
1 ts Dry thyme
3/4 c Dry red wine
1/3 c Beef broth
1/4 c Madeira or cream sherry
2 T Tomato paste
2 T Cornstarch; blend with 2 tablespoons cold water
Parsley; chopped

In a 3-quart or larger slow cooker, combine shallots, garlic, mushrooms, cranberries, and bay leaf. Coat beef cubes with flour, then add to cooker and sprinkle with sugar, pepper, and thyme. In a small bowl, mix wine, broth, Madeira, and tomato paste; pour over beef mixture. Cover and cook at low setting until beef is very tender when pierced (8 to 9 hours).

Blend cornstarch mixture into stew. Increase cooker heat setting to high; cover and cook, stirring 2 or 3 times, until sauce is thickened (about 20 more minutes). Season to taste with salt; sprinkle with parsley. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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