Beef Stew is simple fare – but it’s a stunner. Meltingly tender beef smothered in a deeply flavoured sauce, it’s economical, hearty and there’s nothing better to warm your soul. Let it simmer away slowly on the stove or oven, speed things up using your pressure cooker, or set and forget with your slow cooker!
The Queen of Brown Food strikes again. Back to back brown foods, possibly the two MOST brown foods in the world – a curry on Friday, and now Beef Stew today.
*Head smack* I will never be a magazine editor. Can you imagine? Page after page after page of brown, saucy goodness…..🙌🏻🙌🏻
I want to be able to talk to you about how on cold winter days, there’s nothing like coming home to a steaming bowl of hearty beef stew. And back to back brown-food recipes aside, I did actually put some thought into my recipe sharing schedule and planned to share this Beef Stew in April which is smack bang in the middle of Autumn (here in Australia).
So I really did think I could talk to you about how I pulled out my winter boots, how I’m curled up on the couch bundled in a throw as I write this post, and how much I wished I had a steaming bowl of Beef Stew in front of me.
The reality couldn’t be any different. It seems we’re in the middle of an Endless Summer. It was 30C / 85F today. So not stew weather! It’s still beach weather!!!
Having said that though, fall apart beef smothered in a rich red wine stew sauce will get me every time, no matter how warm it is outside. And you..? ☺️
Beef Stew is pretty simple fare (aside from patience while it simmers away), but I do have one big tip: brown the beef well. The better the browning, the more brown stuff you have stuck on the bottom of the pot = better sauce flavour with a deeper, richer colour. You’ll see in the recipe video how the base of my pot is basically entirely dark brown when I finish browning the beef.
I know that mashed potato is the first thing people think of to serve with Beef Stew, but try bread one of these days. Imagine that moment when you tear off some warm bread and dunk it into that incredible sauce….
OK, I confess, I did that photo above just to show you another way to serve Beef Stew. Because while bread is great, I personally don’t serve stew with anything other than mashed potato.
Or cauliflower mash. If I’m “trying to be healthy”. 😖 Polenta, rice, other mashed veggies (sweet potato, parsnip, pumpkin or other root vegetables) are some other suggestions.
I usually make Beef Stew on the stove, but I’ve been known to rush it using a pressure cooker (that’s Instant Pot now, for most of America! 😂). Using the slow cooker is also really convenient, and sometimes I will use the oven, especially if I’m doing a bunch of other stuff on the stove. So I’ve provided directions for all.
Enjoy! – Nagi x
Active Cook Time: 20 minutes Inactive Cook Time: 2 hrs 20 minutes
A classic beef stew, with meltingly tender beef smothered in a rich sauce. It's economical, hearty, and simple, though it does require patience for the magic to happen. Or speed things up using your pressure cooker / Instant Pot. Be sure to brown the beef well - it's key for the deep rich colour and flavour of the sauce! Great on the day, but even better the next day so make ahead if you can. Recipe VIDEO below.
- 1.2 kg / 2.4lb chuck beef , cut into 3.5 cm / 1.5" cubes (Note 1)
- 1 tsp each salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil , divided
- 1 large onion , halved then cut into 1 cm / 2/5" slices
- 4 garlic cloves , minced
- 3 carrots , cut into 2.5cm / 1" pieces on the diagonal
- 2 celery stalks , cut into 2.5 cm / 1" pieces
- 1/3 cup / 50g flour
- 3 cups / 750ml beef broth , salt reduced
- 2 cups / 500 ml red wine , bold and dry (Cab Sauv, Burgundy, Merlot) (Note 2)
- 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves , fresh or dried
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 400 g / 14 oz baby potatoes , halved
- More salt and pepper , to taste.
Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil in a large, heavy based casserole pot over high heat until just starting to smoke.
Add 1/3 of the beef and brown aggressively all over - about 4 minutes. Remove to bowl and repeat with remaining beef, adding more oil if required.
Turn down heat to medium high. Add 1 tbsp oil if required. Add onion and garlic, cook for 2 minutes until onion is softened slightly and golden on the edge.
Add carrot and celery, stir for 1 minute to coat in flavours.
Sprinkle flour evenly across surface, then stir to coat.
Add broth, red wine, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to dissolve tomato paste and flour into liquid.
Add cooked beef (including any juices), thyme, bay leaf and potato. Stir. Water level should almost fully cover everything (see video), if not, add a touch of water.
Bring to simmer, then adjust heat to low / medium low so it's simmering gently. (Note 3 for other cooking methods)
Cover and cook for 1 hour 45 minutes or until beef is pretty tender (check with 2 forks at 1.5 hrs).
Remove lid and simmer for further 30 minutes or until sauce reduces slightly. It should be like a thin gravy (see video) and beef should now be very tender.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve over creamy mashed potato with a sprig of fresh thyme for decoration or a sprinkle of parsley. Other suggestions: with warm crusty bread for dunking, polenta, rice, cauliflower mash (low carb option), or other mashed root vegetables (carrot, parsnip, pumpkin, sweet potato).
1. Any slow cooking cut of beef will work. Chuck is my favourite from a texture and fat % point. Brisket and gravy beef will also work great.
2. Red wine adds to the depth of flavour of the sauce. Any dry, fairly bold red wine is fine - don't use pinot noir.
Expensive wine?? Contrary to the views of some, I don't believe that there is a noticeable difference in the end result between using a good value discount bottle of red (subject to it being a bold one, as above) vs an expensive, good drinking red for slow cooked recipes. I believe it's important for things like Red Wine Sauce for steak etc but not things like Beef Stew. This recipe calls for 500 ml / 2 cups which is 2/3 of a standard bottle, and I can't bring myself to use a $30 bottle. I use a $12 - $15 bottle which is discounted to $5 - $7 in the end of line bins at Dan Murphy's (big liquor chain in Australia). I am also told that Aldi is also exceptionally good value for wine, but I haven't tried it myself.
If you can't consume alcohol, substitute with more beef broth and 2 tsp brown sugar.
3. Other Cooking Methods:
- OVEN: Cover and bake for 2 1/2 hours at 150C / 300F. Remove lid then return to oven for a further 30 - 45 minutes to reduce sauce.
- SLOW COOKER: Reduce beef broth by 1 cup. After you finish step 7, transfer everything into the slow cooker. If there is residual brown bits on the base of the pot, add a splash of water and bring to simmer, scraping the bottom of the pot to scrape it off then tip it all into the slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients, per recipe. Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove lid and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving, stirring every now and then (the sauce will thicken slightly).
- PRESSURE COOKER: Follow slow cooker instructions, except cook on HIGH for 40 minutes (this might seem longer than most but we're using chuck here which needs to be cooked for a long time until tender and also the pieces are pretty large).
- INSTANT POT*: If you have an Instant Pot, follow steps 1 to 7 of the recipe using the sauté function, then proceed with either the Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker function. The browning of the beef will take longer because you can't achieve the same high temps as using a cast iron pot on the stove. You will also have the luxury of being able to simmer with the lid off at the end if you want to thicken the sauce slightly.
* Note: While we don't have the Instant Pot brand here in Australia, we have the Breville Slow/Fast Cooker which offers the same functions except it does not have the one touch buttons for things like rice and yoghurt which I wouldn't use anyway (too restrictive). The Breville, like the Instant Pot, has a saute function so you can brown the meat before adding liquids, then a slow cooker and pressure cooker function. Then you can put it back on the saute function at the end if the sauce needs thickening. I've had mine for 7 years and I love it!
4. STORAGE / LEFTOVERS - Refrigerate or freeze, then thaw before reheating on the stove or microwave. Tastes even better the next day because the flavours develop even more.
5. Nutrition per serving, assuming 6 servings. I like to trim excess fat from the beef but this is not factored into the nutrition.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
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