Hey guys! Today, I’m sharing one of my family’s favorite recipes. Well, when I mean my family, I mean my husband. He really loves this beef stew recipe!
Look, I know there are a million beef stew recipes out there. Maybe even more than that. But they are not created equal, and I really think this one is a keeper. Why you ask? Well, let’s break down the art of cooking beef stew.
There are plenty of recipes where you toss all the ingredients in a pot and forget about it. Or even plenty of recipes where you toss the ingredients in a crock pot and forget it. This isn’t that kind of recipe, but you know what? Let me just say it’s worth the time. Now, I don’t make beef stew more than 2-3 times a year, so I like the investment of time that I get with this recipe. I could follow a crockpot recipe, but I don’t want to.
What’s the best cut of meat for beef stew?
First off, the most important thing you can do is invest in some good meat. I love to use chuck roast for beef stew. It’s got tons of flavor and is relatively affordable. It is also usually marbled well with fat, which of course, gives it tons of flavor.
The next thing you want to do with a good piece of meat is give it a sear. My beef stew recipe calls for chuck roast. It’s not a fast cooking meat, but oh man, does it have tons of flavor. If you treat it just right, it has a big payoff. A chuck roast is always the best when it can get a good sear. My beef stew recipe starts out by cutting the chuck roast into small chunks, coating them in a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper, then searing them in a hot cast iron pot. Not only does searing each little piece give the stew tons of flavor, it helps to thicken the stew later on.
Why can’t I throw all the ingredients in one pot and forget about it?
I mean, no one is stopping you. But as I have cooked over the years, I’ve learned that different ingredients and their different cooking times are very important. For example, chuck roast takes a long time to cook and tenderize. I mean, we’re talking about at least an hour, if not more. The small pieces help the meat to cook and tenderize faster, but you’ll still need to give it some time. If you throw potatoes, carrots, celery, and peas all in at the same time as the meat, they will completely break down and become mushy. Hence, why it is important to cook the meat at first for a little while before you add the vegetables.
How do you make beef stew?
Well, this is how I make this recipe for beef stew. First, I start by cutting up a chuck roast into small one-inch pieces. Then, I completely coat these pieces in a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper. It’s not a thick coating of the mixture, just light enough that you can still see the meat underneath. Then, I get my enameled dutch oven piping hot with a little bit of oil on the bottom. I brown the meat pieces in three separate batches to ensure that each piece of meat has enough room to get nice and cooked. After all the meat has been browned, I add a chopped onion to the pot and let it cook until translucent.
After the onion has cooked, I add some tomato paste and let it cook a few minutes. I really love my beef stew to have a hint of tomato flavor. It adds some nice sweetness to an otherwise really savory dish. After the onion and tomato paste are cooked, I sprinkle in a little bit of flour and let it cook a few minutes. This removes the raw flour taste, and also helps to thicken the stew. Then I add beef broth and stir, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pot. They give the stew tons of flavor!
Once the broth has been incorporated and brought to a boil, I reduce the heat and let it simmer. Then I add the beef back into the pot, followed by bay leaves and fresh thyme. This mixture simmers for about an hour to allow the beef to tenderize. Then I add the chopped vegetables and let them cook until just done. And next is the most important step! I add frozen peas right at the end. Adding the peas just a few minutes before the stew is served keeps them vibrant, bright, and fresh. It’s also a nice contrast in the beef stew.
The beef stew is so good, especially when served with some fresh bread and butter. Man, oh man, I’m drooling all over again!
I hope you love this recipe as much as my family does!
Classic and comforting, this beef stew is the perfect Sunday dinner!
- 1 3-pound boneless chuck roast, cut into 1" pieces
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 3-4 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 5 cups beef stock (or water and 2 teaspoons beef Better Than Bouillon)
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 4-5 fresh thyme sprigs (or scant 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 medium-sized carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 medium-sized Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas
In a medium-sized bowl, combine 1/3 cup flour with the salt and pepper. Whisk together until well-combined. Add the chopped chuck roast, taking time to make sure each piece is coated lightly with flour. Tap off any excess.
Add oil to the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pot or enameled dutch oven. Heat on medium-high until oil is shimmering. Brown the beef in three separate batches, taking care not to over crowd the pan. Place each batch of browned beef in a large bowl and set aside. Repeat process with the remaining batches.
Add the onion to the empty pot. Let the onion cook for several minutes until mostly translucent. Add the tomato paste, stir well, and allow to cook for a few minutes. Then add 1 tablespoon of flour and stir well, then allow to cook for a few more minutes.
Slowly add the beef stock and stir, making sure to remove any lumps. Scrape the bottom of the pan to bring up the caramelized bits. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the beef and all the juices back to the pot, along with the bay leaves and thyme. Let simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
Add the chopped celery, carrots, and potatoes to the pot. Stir, and put the lid on. Allow the mixture to simmer for at least 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add frozen peas, stir, and cook for an additional five minutes. Season stew with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Enjoy!