How to Make the Best 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. The snow is stunning on the Smokey Mountains, but 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 you worked all day.
I use the stovetop and just let the stew simmer, but you can use a slow cooker or crockpot—I include the instructions for doing that 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 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 type 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!
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If using parsley, stir it in or sprinkle on top and serve!
1. Trim Beef for Stew
2. Dredge the Beef in Seasoned Flour
3. Brown the Beef
4. Prep the Veggies
5. Mince the Garlic
6. Add Remaining Flour
7. Stir Well
8. Add the Carrots, Onion, and Celery
9. Let It Stew
11. Now Just Let it Simmer...
12. Add Peas When the Stew Is Almost Done
13. Taste and Adjust Seasoning
Check out the Quick Tutorial!
How to Make Your Own Beef Broth
How to Cut an Onion
How to Mince Garlic
© 2017 Jan Charles