I love a good, hearty beef stew. It can take a little effort, but oh, man is it worth it.
I made this last week, and I started off by looking at How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, which is a great cookbook if you are looking for something beyond the basics of Betty Crocker or Better Homes and Gardens. Each recipe has tons of variations and substitution suggestions to make each dish your own.
This recipe is an amalgamation of Mr. Bittman’s recipe and several additions that give a rich, thick, hearty stew.
- 2.5-3 pounds of beef stew meat, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 T. cooking oil (I used avocado)
- 2T butter
- 2 sweet onions, chopped
- 4 cups beef stock
- 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
- 3-4 carrots, peeled and cut into coins
- 1/2t. dried thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1/2c red wine
- 2T. Tomato Paste
- 3T. All-purpose flour
- In a large stockpot, heat oil, and cook the beef in batches to brown. If your pot is large, there may not be a need to cook in batches.
- After the beef is browned, add the onions, and cook until clear and tender.
- Sprinkle flour over the meat and onions, and stir to combine.
- Brown the flour gently, this may take a few minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning. the flour will stick to the meat and onions- this is ok. While string, you may notice the flour forming a paste that browns- this is what you want.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add beef stock and thyme, and stir to combine and continue to stir as the mixture thickens.
- As the stock thickens, add wine, tomato paste. Allow the stew to cook on low for 20-30 minutes.
- Add potatoes and carrots and cook soup on low for 20-30 minutes with the lid on the stockpot.
- Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Continue to simmer as desired, if you want thinner stew, add more stock. If you like a thicker stew, remove the lid and allow the stew to simmer for 10-20 minutes until the stew reaches your desired thickness.
Some notes: I add wine and tomato paste because the acid in both helps break down the collagen in the meat, making it more tender, and giving the stew broth a more luscious mouthfeel. You can do without one or the other if you prefer.
I don’t like peas, so I omit them from my stew. If you like them, add 1/2-1 cup frozen peas about 10 minutes before serving. This keeps them from getting mushy or falling apart.
If you like more of a French-style beef stew, add 1/2-1 cup chopped mushrooms when you add the other veggies.
This recipe makes about 8-10 servings of stew. I like to serve the stew with crusty french bread, or sourdough toast, and of course SALAD. I like a peppery arugula (or rocket) salad with beets, goat cheese, and a simple vinaigrette. That combination really pairs well with the richness of the stew.
And of course, this stew freezes well and tastes better the next day.