This Cranberry Beef Stew with Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes is a super cozy winter meal, and the beef stew is made in the slow cooker! You serve the stew over a bed of garlicky mascarpone mashed potatoes, which are absolutely delicious! This meal is perfect to make for guests over the holidays, or any chilly night when you need a little something cozy!
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Season the beef with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Add to the skillet and sear on all sides until browned, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer the beef to your slow cooker.
Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, cranberries, beef broth, tomato paste, red wine, maple syrup, bay leaves, and thyme sprigs to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours.
When the stew has about 30 minutes left, scoop out 2/3 cup of the cooking liquid and mix it together with the flour until smooth. Pour back into the slow cooker and stir to combine. At this time, sometimes I add another handful of cranberries for a little pop of bright color! Totally optional though! Cook for the remaining 30 minutes or until thickened.
Once finished, stir in the fresh rosemary and remaining teaspoon of salt. You may want to start with 1/2 a teaspoon and go from there. Season to taste with pepper as well! Serve the stew over the mashed potatoes and garnish with extra chopped rosemary and/or a rosemary sprig!
Add the potatoes to a large pot and cover with water. Season the water liberally with a teaspoon or so of salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes or so, or until potatoes are tender.
While potatoes are boiling, heat the milk and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it comes to a simmer (watch carefully, the milk can burn quickly!). Once simmering, reduce heat to medium-low, and let the milk and garlic steep for 15-20 minutes, while the potatoes are cooking. Once finished, discard the garlic cloves.
Drain the potatoes and add them back into the pot. Add the milk, the mascarpone, and salt, and mash with a potato masher until desired consistency is reached. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired!
*I like to use use a full-bodied, dry red wine for this recipe, something like a cab, Spanish red, or red blend! Make sure it's something you enjoy drinking on its own - the flavor will intensify!
*I like to keep the skin on my potatoes, but you can peel them if you prefer it. You may need to add a little less milk if you peel them since there will be less volume - just start with about half and go from there! For me, this was 6 medium/large yukon golds.