This is one of my favorite recipes. To do it right, it does take all day, but that's cooking in the crockpot or simmering on the stove. The actual prep time is fairly short, mostly chopping vegetables.
Cooking the beef in grape juice tenderizes it so you can use the cheap cuts that are on the tough side. Look for a roast or large steak marked "For Braising". That means cooking in liquid which is exactly what you're doing with this recipe. I look for the least expensive lean roast I can find. Rump roast and round steak are perfect. The grape juice also makes the meat turn brown and look more appetizing. The stew has a slightly sweet taste, like French roast beef, not the traditional tomato tang of beef stew.
So pull out your stew pot and try something a little different. You might be surprised how easy and delicious it is.
French Beef Stew
1 beef roast, about 2 lbs
1 large onion, chopped
1 T. dried oregano
1 t. dried sage
1 t. ground black pepper
1 t. garlic powder
1 T. salt
3 c. purple grape juice, unsweetened
3 c. carrots, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
6 c. potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite size pieces
2 c. frozen petite peas
Put roast into large crockpot (5-6 quart). Add onions and spices. Pour grape juice over top. Add just enough water to cover. Cook on high for 3-4 hours. Remove roast and cut into bite size pieces. Return to crock pot. Add carrots and potatoes. Add just enough water to cover vegetables. Cook on high for 3-4 hours until vegetables are tender. Add peas. Cook on low for an additional 20 minutes. Stir well and add salt to taste.
For stove top: Follow the recipe, except cook on med-low heat on stovetop for 1.5 to 2 hours instead of the 3-4 in the crockpot. Add vegetables and cook another 1-2 hours. Add water as needed during cooking time.