Beef stew is a hearty dish that is perfect for a cold winter day. The key to making a great beef stew is to start with high-quality ingredients and to cook the stew slowly so that the beef is tender and the flavors have time to meld together.
How to make beef stew
- 1 lb beef stew meat
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 3 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can (10.75 oz) condensed beef broth
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
The key to making a great beef stew is to start with high-quality ingredients. Look for beef that is well-marbled and has a good fat content. The fat will add flavor to the stew as it cooks. You can use any type of beef for stew, but chuck roast or bottom round are good choices.
Cut the beef into 1-inch cubes and season it with salt and pepper. Place the beef in a large Dutch oven or soup pot and add enough water to cover the meat. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and chop two carrots and one onion. Add the chopped vegetables to the pot and continue cooking for another hour.
After the beef and vegetables have cooked for a total of two hours, add a can of diced tomatoes and a tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir in a cup of red wine, if desired. Season the stew with additional salt and pepper, then let it cook for another 30 minutes.
Beef stew is best served with boiled potatoes or crusty bread. For a complete meal, add a side of steamed vegetables.
Variations on beef stew
There are endless ways to vary beef stew. Try adding different vegetables, such as celery, parsnips, or turnips. Or use a different type of meat, such as lamb or pork.
For a richer stew, substitute beef broth for some of the water. You can also add a tablespoon of flour when you add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste. This will help thicken the stew.
If you want to give your beef stew an international flavor, try adding a tablespoon of curry powder or Chinese five-spice powder when you season the beef. You can also add a splash of soy sauce or fish sauce at the end of cooking.
Tips for making great beef stew
- Marinate the beef. To add extra flavor to your stew, marinate the beef in red wine or beer overnight before cooking.
- Sear the beef. Searing the beef before adding it to the stew will help to seal in the juices and create a richer flavor.
- Use fresh herbs. Fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, or parsley, can take your beef stew from good to great. Add them at the end of cooking so that they don’t lose their flavor.
- Let it simmer. Don’t be tempted to rush the cooking time. The longer you let your beef stew simmer, the more tender the meat will be and the more flavors will have time to meld together.