How to Make Fabulous Homemade Beef Stew

Updated on January 6, 2018
DixieMockingbird profile image

Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over twenty years and has cooked on multiple television stations, including Food Network.

Tender, succulent beef simmers with onion, carrot, celery and potatoes in wine and beef broth for a perfect bowl of warming comfort. Serve with crusty bread and a green salad for the ultimate comfort food meal.
Tender, succulent beef simmers with onion, carrot, celery and potatoes in wine and beef broth for a perfect bowl of warming comfort. Serve with crusty bread and a green salad for the ultimate comfort food meal.

Have You Tried This Recipe?

5 stars from 1 rating of Perfect, Homemade Beef Stew

I don't know about y'all but cold weather has hit with a vengeance here in East Tennessee—as I'm writing this, it's 7 degrees outside. While snow is stunning on the Smokey Mountains out my kitchen windows, it certainly feels as though we all need some serious comfort food. Something warming, rich, satisfying, filling, and just plain delicious.

Bring on the homemade beef stew. Yes! But—I don't want to work very hard. Enter this perfect, homemade beef stew recipe. I use just enough technique to produce the ultimate results, which is a combination of rich and tender beef, perfectly cooked vegetables, and a silky, luscious sauce. There are a couple of steps, but that's it—and the dish tastes like someone worked all day.

I use the stovetop and just let the stew simmer, but you can use a slow cooker or crockpot—I wrote the instructions for doing that in the recipe below.

You can also use either pre-cut beef stew meat or beef chuck. Beef chuck is normally less expensive, and it's just a matter of cutting into the size pieces you want. Just check the per-pound price when you shop. Even if it turns out that pre-cut stew beef is less, I usually go ahead and cut down the cubes into smaller pieces. I find the pre-cut stuff to just be too big to make nice, bite-size pieces.

One final note—most beef stew recipes call for only using red wine, and that's great. Red wine is a perfect compliment to red meat, so it works beautifully. However, in this recipe, use whatever you like or whatever you have on hand. The wine simply highlights the dish with a bit of acid, and it isn't a dominant flavor note on its own. So it's ok to use red wine, white wine, a shot of vodka, a hit of vinegar, or leave it out altogether. It's your food—make it how YOU like it.

There you go. Perfect, homemade beef stew without massive effort. So make some, curl up on the sofa and have a big bowl. And stay warm!

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 1 hour 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour 45 min
Yields: About 8 generous servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour, all-purpose
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly cracked
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 pound stew beef or beef chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup wine, red or white
  • 2 bay leaves, dried
  • 2 quarts beef broth
  • 2 Russet potatos, diced
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

Instructions

  1. Cut the beef into bite-sized pieces. That's entirely up to you - I tend to like smaller pieces, so I trim even pre-cut beef stew meat into smaller pieces. If you're using a piece of beef chuck, just cut it into the cubes you like. As you trim the beef, get rid of any obvious chunks of fat or gristle.
  2. Season the flour with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. This is easiest in a plastic bag, and it helps with clean up by eliminating a lot of the mess. Stir the flour to incorporate the seasonings. Add the beef cubes and toss to coat.
  3. Over medium heat, add the olive oil to a large saucepan or soup pot. Shake off the excess flour and add the coated beef cubes. Brown the beef, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once browned, add the remaining seasoned flour and stir well. You want to stir until no white shows in order for the flour to absorb all the beef juices. This also keeps the finished sauce from becoming lumpy.
  5. Stir in the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Stir well. Pour in wine, bay leaves, and beef broth and bring pot to a simmer. If you like you can transfer the beef stew to a slow cooker at this point, but I don't usually bother. If you do, set it on medium for about six hours. If using the stove, just bring the pot to a bare simmer, and keep it on low for about an hour.
  6. After about an hour, add the potatoes and stir well. Bring back to a simmer and cook for about 1/2 hour, or until potatoes are tender. If using a crockpot or slow cooker, add the potatoes and set to high for an additional hour.
  7. Once the potatoes are tender, stir in the peas. I usually don't bother even defrosting frozen peas - they cook in just moments, and we like them best when they've just been warmed through. They really give a gorgeous contrast - the bright flavor of the peas against the rich, silky beef stew.
  8. If using parsley, stir it in or sprinkle on top and serve!

Trim Stew Beef or Beef Chuck

Whole beef chuck is usually less expensive than buying precut stew beef, but not always, so check the per pound price. I like smaller bites, so I cut it into 1 or even 1/2 inch cubes before seasoning and flouring.
Whole beef chuck is usually less expensive than buying precut stew beef, but not always, so check the per pound price. I like smaller bites, so I cut it into 1 or even 1/2 inch cubes before seasoning and flouring.

Dredge Ground Beef in Seasoned Flour

Brown the Beef

Lots of folks think this step is to lock in juices, but really it's to develop a depth of flavor. Browning the beef allows for caramelization of the beef, which means a much richer, more beefy flavor.
Lots of folks think this step is to lock in juices, but really it's to develop a depth of flavor. Browning the beef allows for caramelization of the beef, which means a much richer, more beefy flavor.

Prep the Veggies

While the beef is browning, prep the veggies. I like carrot, onion and celery for simplicity.They highlight the beefy flavors beautifully. You can choose your favorites though - just pick vegetables that can handle long cooking.
While the beef is browning, prep the veggies. I like carrot, onion and celery for simplicity.They highlight the beefy flavors beautifully. You can choose your favorites though - just pick vegetables that can handle long cooking.

Mince the Garlic

Because the garlic will cook for a long period of time, it will become sweeter and nuttier. I like to mince it, and add it after the veggies to help prevent the risk of burning it. Mince it with a little salt and olive oil to make mincing easier.
Because the garlic will cook for a long period of time, it will become sweeter and nuttier. I like to mince it, and add it after the veggies to help prevent the risk of burning it. Mince it with a little salt and olive oil to make mincing easier.

Add Remaining Flour

Once the beef is browned, toss in the remaining seasoned flour. You'll be seasoning the beef stew in stages, ensuring it is deep in flavor and really rich and 'beefy' tasting. Stir in the flour well.
Once the beef is browned, toss in the remaining seasoned flour. You'll be seasoning the beef stew in stages, ensuring it is deep in flavor and really rich and 'beefy' tasting. Stir in the flour well.

Stir Flour Well

Stir the flour well, until no white remains. This will allow the flour to pick up all the beef juices, and subsequently keep the finished sauce from being lumpy.
Stir the flour well, until no white remains. This will allow the flour to pick up all the beef juices, and subsequently keep the finished sauce from being lumpy.

Add the Carrots, Onion and Celery

Stir the vegetables into the beef/flour mixture. You can let it cook for a minute or two at this stage, but the vast majority of the cooking will be after the liquids are added. Throw the garlic in after the vegetables are added.
Stir the vegetables into the beef/flour mixture. You can let it cook for a minute or two at this stage, but the vast majority of the cooking will be after the liquids are added. Throw the garlic in after the vegetables are added.
You can transfer the beef stew to a slow cooker at this point if you like. Then add the wine and beef stock. You can use red or white wine - it's to boost flavor and add a hint of acid, but not a dominate flavor by itself, so it's whatever you have.
You can transfer the beef stew to a slow cooker at this point if you like. Then add the wine and beef stock. You can use red or white wine - it's to boost flavor and add a hint of acid, but not a dominate flavor by itself, so it's whatever you have.

Potatoes!

Use your favorite potato - I always have Russets, so I use those. I like how they become tender and soft, and help to thicken the stew. But a Yukon gold or new potato would be nice too. Just keep them about the same size as the beef cubes.
Use your favorite potato - I always have Russets, so I use those. I like how they become tender and soft, and help to thicken the stew. But a Yukon gold or new potato would be nice too. Just keep them about the same size as the beef cubes.

Now Just Let it Simmer...

Simply let the beef stew simmer - keep the bubbles barely forming. At minimum it needs an hour, although two is better. All it requires is an occasional stir.
Simply let the beef stew simmer - keep the bubbles barely forming. At minimum it needs an hour, although two is better. All it requires is an occasional stir.

Add Peas When the Stew is Pretty Much Done

I wait until the last minute to add peas - you can use fresh or frozen. I always have frozen peas. I really only let the stew warm the peas through. They stay nice and crisp, giving a beautiful contrast to the richness of the beef and sauce.
I wait until the last minute to add peas - you can use fresh or frozen. I always have frozen peas. I really only let the stew warm the peas through. They stay nice and crisp, giving a beautiful contrast to the richness of the beef and sauce.

Taste and Adjust for Seasoning

Once the peas are warmed through, the stew is ready to serve. You can also stir in a nice big handful of minced fresh parsley at this point, for another bright note.
Once the peas are warmed through, the stew is ready to serve. You can also stir in a nice big handful of minced fresh parsley at this point, for another bright note.
Ready to eat - I love this stew for its simplicity, and its perfect for cold winter nights. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and a quick dark green salad, and you have a perfect, comfort food meal.
Ready to eat - I love this stew for its simplicity, and its perfect for cold winter nights. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and a quick dark green salad, and you have a perfect, comfort food meal.

Check out the Quick Tutorial!

How to Make Your Own Beef Broth

How to Cut an Onion

How to Mince Garlic

© 2017 Jan Charles

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.