Oct 15, 2023
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This classic beef stew is the ultimate hearty and satisfying meal! It’s a cold-weather, one-pot wonder with chunks of beef chuck roast that are seared until golden, then simmered with vegetables and herbs in a rich and savory broth that’s complex in flavor but really simple to make. The whole family will love it!
Stews are good for the soul — and this traditional beef stew recipe from my childhood is no exception. It’s like another version of my Dad’s favorite Irish lamb stew, but with delicious elements of pot roast. Think melt-in-your-mouth beef chunks, tender root vegetables, and a red wine, tomato-y broth that continues to build flavor as it simmers.
It’s a meal I always requested when I was younger, and to this day, it delights me every time I make it in my kitchen. Plus, my house gets filled with a savory aroma that comforts me as I eat it by the spoonfuls! This beef stew is really everything you want in a fall and winter stew recipe and it’s one you can prep on a Sunday to enjoy throughout the week. You can even freeze a batch or two to last you all winter long!
Beef Stew Ingredients
- Beef Stew Meat: Stew meat is typically beef chuck roast, which is a tender, marbled portion of the upper shoulder and lower neck. This means you’ll have a good amount of fat to keep the beef chunks juicy and tender as they cooks in the pot.
- Vegetables: This traditional beef stew has all the classics such as yellow onion, white potatoes, carrots, and celery.
- Flour: A little bit of flour is added to thicken the broth. I’m using arrowroot powder today, but you could use cornstarch or another flour of your choice.
- Dry Red Wine: To give this stew a bold and rustic flavor, grab a bottle of cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir. But there’s no need to buy an expensive wine, just one you typically like to drink since there will be leftovers!
- Beef Broth: Use any low-sodium beef broth brand that you like. I’ve linked the one I always buy in the recipe card below.
- Red Wine Vinegar and Tomato Paste: Essential ingredients to give the broth depth of flavor. Plus, the tomato paste helps to thicken the sauce a smidge.
- Aromatics: Fresh garlic, dried thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper are all you need! In a pinch you could use garlic powder, but I do prefer fresh garlic in this recipe.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How To Shop For Beef Stew Meat
You’ve got two options here. One, you can buy packaged beef stew meat that’s already been diced into cubes or head to the butcher section to get fresh-cut pieces (which is what I typically like to do!). Second, you can buy a slab of chuck roast and slice it into cubes yourself. This may seem a bit more tedious, but you can also pick and choose meat that’s marbled to your liking.
How To Make Beef Stew
Season the beef. Pat the beef chunks dry with paper towels, then season with a good amount of salt and pepper.
Sear the beef. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, place the beef in the pot and sear on all sides until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side, then remove to a plate.
Saute the onion. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and pour in the vinegar (which will help to loosen browned bits from the bottom of the pot) and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion is softened. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more.
Return the beef to the pot. Add the seared beef back to the pot and sprinkle the flour on top. Stir everything together, until the flour is fully dissolved.
Add the liquids and aromatics. Add the wine, broth, thyme, and bay leaf. Use a large spoon or spatula to stir everything together. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer partially covered for 1 hour.
Add the veggies. Add the potatoes, carrots, and celery. Cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork-tender. Remove the bay leaves, and if you’d like, garnish with fresh thyme before serving.
My biggest tip is to brown your meat very well before adding the rest of the ingredients (which is how I show you in the recipe below). Getting a good, golden sear on the meat give it lots of flavor that will seep into the broth as it cooks. It also creates “fond” on the bottom of the pan, which infuses even more flavor into the broth. Additionally, red wine is a huge factor when it comes to that richness. Most of the alcohol burns off, but the depth of flavor remains.
Choosing a chuck roast with a good amount of marbling will naturally give the meat a tender texture. But make sure to slice across the grain if you’re not buying pre-sliced chunks. Other than that, if you simmer the stew meat for an hour and a half or so, it should naturally become fall-apart tender.
If you want to switch things up, you can swap the potatoes with turnips or parsnips (they’re a bit lower carb). Many root vegetables work in this recipe, so have fun with it. Just remember to swap any vegetables with a similar hearty texture so they don’t get overly mushy in the stew.
Yes, you sure can! First, sear the meat in a skillet. Once that’s done, add the cooked meat and vegetables into the slow cooker, and pour all the broth and aromatic ingredients on top (minus the flour). Let this cook on low for about 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. Lastly, mix the flour with some water and mix it into the slow cooker until the sauce thickens up a bit.
- To store for the week: Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. Keep in mind it might thicken up as it sits in your fridge. Just add a bit more water to thin it down, if needed, when reheating.
- Freeze for later: It feels like such a treat finding containers of this in my freezer —especially on a chilly day! You can store leftovers of this recipe in airtight containers in the freezer for up to 3 months.
More Soups and Stews
With the weather cooling down, these soup recipes are everything you want to cozy up with! Here are some of my favorite comforting meals to get you started.
- Split Pea Soup: The best way to use your leftover ham from the holidays!
- Best Ever Chili: This beefy chili is just what you need for a cozy and hearty meal.
- Stuffed Pepper Soup: If you love stuffed peppers, this delicious soup is a no-brainer.
- Apple Cider Beef Stew: This exclusive recipe can be found in my Healthy Meal Prep cookbook!
I hope you enjoy this beef stew as the ultimate comfort food throughout fall and winter! If you make it, I’d love to hear how it turned out in the comment box below. Your review will help other readers!
Classic Beef Stew
- 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, cut into chunks
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder, cornstarch or other flour
- 1 cup red wine
- 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 pound baby white potatoes, halved or quartered
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced on a diagonal
- 3 celery ribs, chopped
- Optional: fresh thyme for garnish
- Season the beef. Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
- Sear the beef. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, place the beef in the pot and sear on all sides until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side, then remove to a plate.
- Saute the onion. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and pour in the vinegar (which will help to loosen browned bits from the bottom of the pot) and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion is softened. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more.
- Return the beef to the pot. Add the seared beef back to the pot and sprinkle the flour on top. Stir everything together, until the flour is fully dissolved.
- Add the liquids and aromatics. Add the wine, broth, thyme, and bay leaf. Use a large spoon or spatula to stir everything together. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer partially covered for 1 hour.
- Add the veggies. Add the potatoes, carrots, and celery. Cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork-tender.
- Serve. Remove the bay leaves, and if you'd like, garnish with fresh thyme before serving.
- Don’t crowd the pot when searing the meat. You want it turn get a really good golden crust before flipping. More seared “gunk” on the bottom of the pot turns into more flavor in the broth!
- If you’d like to omit the alcohol, you can replace the red wine with more beef broth.
- Many recipes will have you add 1/4 cup of flour, but when you’re finished, the liquid will resemble more of a thick gravy (and you’re often told to thin it back down with more liquid). I find that 2 tablespoons of flour is perfect, as the starch from the potatoes will also naturally thicken the broth while boiling. But if you’d like it thicker, just stir together some broth from the pot in a small bowl with 1 to 2 tablespoons flour, then add it back to the stew.
- The flavor of beef stew intensifies as it sits, making it a wonderful recipe for meal prep!
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