Hearty and wholesome, this easy beef stew recipe makes a sumptuous supper, perfect to warm up on cold autumn and winter nights. My traditional braised beef stew is perfect for cheaper cuts and is made with root veggies, fresh herbs, red wine and tasty broth. A slow cooking time guarantees tender meat, a thick, rich gravy and a very flavourful dish. In this recipe, we’ll cover what type of meat you should buy, talk about seasoning and other ingredients. I also share tips for cooking the beef stew on the stove top, in the oven and a slow cooker. Enjoy!
What type of meat/cut should I use for beef stew?
The star of this dish is beef and here are a few tips what type of cut you should buy for beef stew. Look for stewing beef or braising steak that has ripples of fat running throughout, as well as some layers of fat or connective tissue. The cooking process is relatively long, and the fat will prevent the meat from drying out. The fat breaks down during the braising process and creates a wonderful, rich flavour. Cheaper cuts from the shoulder or rear-end, such as chuck, skirt, leg and flank, are excellent choices for beef stew. You can buy a whole piece and cut it into large chunks or take ready-diced meat. And if you want variation, use the same cuts in lamb, venison or game.
What liquids are needed to cook the stew?
The two liquids needed to prepare this dish: broth and wine. You can either use a store-bought or homemade vegetable or beef broth. A broth made from stock cubes or stock pots is fine as well. Simply prepare the broth according to the instructions on the package, you need 500 ml (2 cups) broth. Any type of good, dry table wine will work well in this recipe, e.g. Burgundy, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, no need for something expensive.
What can I use as beef stew seasoning?
Earthy herbs such as thyme, bay leaves or rosemary perfectly accentuate the flavour of the meat. I seasoned my beef stew with salt and freshly ground black pepper, fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs, a bay leave, garlic powder, fresh parsley and basil. You can swap the garlic powder for two fresh peeled garlic cloves or use dry herbs instead of fresh ones. I also sometimes add 1 to 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar if the wine is more on the sweeter side.
What other ingredients are in the beef stew?
I used an onion, carrots, and parsley root in this easy beef stew recipe, which you can swap with a variety of other root vegetables such as turnips, swedes (rutabagas), parsnips, celeriac or celery sticks. You may omit the parsley root and use 350 g (3/4 lb) halved and quartered mushrooms instead. Since mushrooms are very tender, add them after half the cooking time.
What are different cooking methods to prepare beef stew?
While I cooked my stew on the stove top, other methods to braise the stew are available. Below, I have listed preparation tips for different cooking methods. Regardless of which cooking method you choose, the first step is always to fry the beef cubes golden-brown on all sides, and then frying the vegetables.
- Cook the beef stew on the stove top: Use a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Brown the beef and fry the vegetables on high heat, then reduce the heat to low when adding the liquids. Cook the beef with the lid on for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat is very tender.
- Braise the beef stew in the oven: Before browning the meat, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F / gas mark 4). Brown the meat and veggies in a heavy, ovenproof pot, Dutch oven or flameproof casserole dish. Braise in the oven with the lid on for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. After 1 1/2 hours, set the lid slightly to the side, so the sauce thickens.
- Prepare the beef stew in a slow cooker: Fry the beef and vegetables as indicated in the recipe below. Then tip the browned beef cubes, veggies and liquids into a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.
Easy Beef Stew Recipe
Prep Time: 45 min
Cooking Time: 1.5 – 2 hrs
Yields: 4 servings
You can prepare the stew one day in advance and slowly reheat on the next day. The flavours will develop overnight even more, creating a richer and more mature aroma.
- 700 g (1.5 lb) stewing beef, cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) cubes
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 250 g (1 2/3 cups) carrots, sliced
- 250 g (1 1/4 cups) parsley root, cut into cubes
- 240 ml (1 cup) dry red wine
- 1 tbsp tomato puree (paste)
- 1 bay leaf (fresh or dried)
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- black pepper, freshly ground
- garlic powder
- 2 tbsp vegetable cooking oil (e.g. canola or sunflower seed oil)
- 500 ml (2 cups) (beef or vegetable) broth
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh basil, minced
1) Brown the beef
Season the beef generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Brown the meat cubes in two batches, stirring well so that they brown evenly. Add more oil if needed. If the pot is scorching around the edges, reduce the heat. Then remove the browned cubes from the pot or Dutch oven and set aside in a bowl.
2) Fry the vegetables
Add the onion, carrots, and parsley root. Stir often and cook until lightly browned, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine and tomato puree (paste), and bring to a boil, stirring to lift up most of the cooked bits from the bottom of the pot.
3) Braise the beef stew
Return the beef to the pot. Then add the rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf. Add enough stock to come about halfway up the sides of the beef cubes. Bring just to a low boil, then cover the pot and braise over low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat is very tender. Stir occasionally while braising.
4) Season the beef stew
Remove the bay leave and rosemary/thyme twigs. Season the beef stew with salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, and basil according to your taste. Serve warm.
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