Beef Stew calls for simple ingredients, but it’s a stunner! With meltingly tender beef, you’ll love the deep flavour of the sauce in this beef stew recipe
Economical and hearty, there’s no better way to see out the colder months. 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. Mop your bowl clean with Irish Soda Bread, a quick rustic no-yeast bread, or this incredible easy crusty Artisan bread!
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 a Beef Stew recipe today.
*Head smack* I will never be a magazine editor. Can you imagine? Page after page after page of brown, saucy goodness….. (*she cheers at the vision, you groan at the thought! 😂)
A well made beef stew is a thing of beauty. While it’s easy to make, it takes a little more than just “chucking it all in a pot” (or instant pot) then leaving it to simmer until the beef is tender.
How to make Beef Stew
Best beef for beef stew is chuck beef. Because it’s nicely marbled with fat, it’s the best beef for braising for hours – it’s got terrific flavour, is juicy and beautifully tender. Boneless beef rib also works very well. Whatever beef you use, use big pieces so they don’t cook too quickly – Beef Stew needs time for the flavour to develop.
Sear the beef well on all sides – in batches, because if you cram them all in at the same time, they will steam and won’t brown well.
Sauté onion, garlic, carrots and celery in the beef drippings so they soak up extra flavour.
Add beef stew sauce ingredients – beef broth, red wine (great for extra flavour, but can be skipped), Worcestershire sauce (savouriness and depth), flour (to thicken) and tomato paste (to thicken + a touch of sour to balance richness).
Add potatoes, bay leaves and thyme. The liquid will be covering the ingredients at this stage.
Simmer for 1.5 – 2 hours covered, until the beef is almost fall apart tender.
Simmer for a further 30 minutes without the lid to allow the sauce to reduce and thicken.
Make this Beef Stew on the stove – oven, pressure cooker OR slow cooker!
I usually make Beef Stew on the stove, but I’ve been known to rush it using a pressure cooker. 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. Directions provided for all!
Key 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.
* The brown stuff is called fond and whenever you sear meat, fish or prawns/shrimp in the pan, you should do everything in your power to use it in a sauce or similar because it’s flavour, flavour, flavour!
What to serve with Beef Stew
I personally don’t serve stew with anything other than mashed potato. I know, I know, I’m sooo boring! 😂 Here are some other options for those of you who aren’t as straight as me:
Cauliflower Mash – for a low carb alternative
Mashed Sweet Potato or other mashed veggies (sweet potato, parsnip, pumpkin or other root vegetables)
Polenta, rice or bread – mop your plate clean with this quick No Yeast Irish Soda Bread!
Enjoy! – Nagi x
More cosy Stews
Slow Cooked Chicken Stew and Faster Chicken Stew – when you need a rich stew on the table in under an hour!
Slow Cooked Beef Stroganoff Stew – fall apart beef in a creamy Stroganoff sauce!
Browse Winter Warmers recipe collection
More slow cooked fall-apart meat
I’m a big fan of slow cooked meats!!
Browse the Winter Comfort Food collection!
Beef Stew recipe
Watch how to make it
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- 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 / stock , 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, 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 (Note 4).
- SLOW COOKER: Reduce beef broth by 1 cup. After you finish step 7, transfer everything into the slow cooker. Add splash of water into pot, bring to simmer, scraping the bottom of the pot, 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.
- 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. Simmer with the lid off at the end if you want to thicken the sauce slightly. 4. Other serving suggestions: with warm crusty bread for dunking (try this easy rustic no-yeast Irish Bread), polenta, rice, cauliflower mash (low carb option), or other mashed root vegetables (carrot, parsnip, pumpkin, sweet potato). 5. 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. 6. Nutrition per serving, assuming 6 servings. I like to trim excess fat from the beef but this is not factored into the nutrition. Stew only - not mashed potato.
This Beef Stew recipe has originally published April 2018. Updated for housekeeping matters in January 2019 – no change to recipe!
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