I’ve been cooking a lot of vegetarian dishes lately — and loving them! I’ve always been partial to vegetables, but have not crossed over to the other side…yet. Beef stew is one of the major roadblocks on the road to becoming a hardcore vegetarian because, well, because it’s so darn good!

Who can resist a rich, warm, aromatic, full-flavored beef stew on a blustery fall or winter evening? Not me!

beef stew

Easy Beef Stew

I wanted to come up with a recipe for beef stew that wasn’t intimidating, although when you look at the long list of ingredients you might be tempted to turn the page. Please don’t! Once you assemble the stew meat and vegetables, the rest is easy. The stew cooks for about an hour and then it’s ready. If you make it the day ahead and reheat it before serving, it’s even better — and even easier

Serves 4

2 pounds beef stew meat, such as top round or chuck

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil

6 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, sliced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 750ml bottle red wine

4 carrots, peeled and cut into large dice

8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and halved

8 ounces pearl or cremini onions

1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

  1. Season the stew meat with salt and pepper.
  2. In a heavy Dutch oven or similar heavy pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sear the beef in batches until golden brown on all sides. Transfer the browned meat to a platter or bowl as it’s done.
  3. Add the bacon and the rest of the oil, if the pot seems dry, and sauté until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy. Add the butter and when it melts, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes until the onions soften..
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook for 1 minute longer, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits.
  5. Add the wine and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pot. Skim any foam that rises to the top of the pot.
  6. Add the carrots, mushrooms, pearl onions, stock, tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary and the browned meat. Bring to a boil, skim any foam that rises to the top, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the meat is tender. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer.
  7. Finally, stir in the peas, parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the stew hot.

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