When it’s cold outside, nothing warms up you up, body and soul, like a good stew. This classic beef and vegetable stew is just the right thing to bring you to your cozy place. To get this dish right, it takes a good bit of time to cook, but what’s better than a warm pot of stew simmering on a cold winter day? If you are still in a rush and have an instant pot, you could also follow these steps but reduce cooking time to about 50 minutes. If you are not a beef person, chicken breast or turkey tenderloin also works. Skipping the meat and making it vegetarian is great too!
1lb of beef cubes
3-4 carrots, chopped
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3-4 Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (or 2 cups canned tomatoes, or 1 tablespoon of tomato paste)
2 cups of any (or a mix) of the following veggies: chopped green beans, frozen peas, chopped zucchini
1 cup white mushrooms, chopped (optional)
32 oz of beef stock. Chicken or Vegetable stock can be substituted.
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (highly recommended)
Any or all of the following fresh herbs (totaling 1 cup, but not a cup of each): rosemary, thyme, parsley.
Step 1: Brown beef cubes
Heat oil or butter in a large pot to medium/high heat. On a plate or cutting board, lightly sprinkle beef cubes with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, add beef cubes to the pan. If your pan is on the smaller side, do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the meat. Turn the meat a few times to make sure all sides are browned and return to the plate/cutting board they were originally on.
Step 2: Veggies, but not potatoes
You want to add your veggies at different times so the tender types don’t overcook. First, add carrots, onions and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes, scrapping up any brown bits left on the bottom of the pan from the meat while you do. Adding a 1/2 cup of liquid during this process helps “deglaze” the pan. You can use wine, stock or even water.
After 5 minutes, add tomatoes of your choice. Continue cooking and stirring another 5 minutes. (Note: if using tomato paste, only cook 2 more minutes to prevent burning, then proceed to step 3.)
Step 3: Beef, stock and other things
Add garlic, then return the beef to the pot and incorporate into veggies. Next, add beef stock along with 2 cups of water. If you are using Worcestershire sauce, add it now. Add rosemary and/or thyme now; save parsley for later. Things should be looking very soupy. If you look at the amount of liquid you have and are worried it won’t be enough soup, you can always add water, but remember this is a stew and should be thick with vegetables and meat when it’s done.
Bring pot to a simmer, put a lid on it and cook for about 30 minutes.
Step 4: Add potatoes
Now is the time to add your potatoes; you didn’t do this earlier so they don’t cook down to nothing. Continue simmering for 30 more minutes.
Step 5. Add remaining veggies and seasoning
Now is the time to add the optional veggies we listed above. Kale works great, if you want greens. Also add some salt and pepper. A teaspoon of each is likely a good start. You can always add more later. Continue cooking covered for another 30 minutes.
Step 6. Taste it!
Your stew has now been simmering for a total of 1 1/2 hours. It needs this time for your beef to go from chewy to soft and tender. Take out a spoonful and cool it off. Make sure to get a piece of beef, and a piece of potato. Taste. Are they soft, tender and delicious or still a little firm? If they are not delicious and tender yet, continue cooking from an additional 10-30 minutes or until they get to where they need to be. Don’t rush it! Tough beef stew is no fun for anyone! Note: while tasting, adjust salt and pepper and add parsley, if using.
Step 7: Serve it up!
Your stew should now be just right. The beef should be tender, the potatoes should have released some starch to thick up the broth, and everything should be singing on your tastebuds! Ladle into bowls and enjoy. We suggest serving alongside a nicely buttered slice of bread! Enjoy!