Today, we’re making a Beef Stew Recipe, where tender chunks of beef and a medley of vegetables are packed in a rich, savory broth. Perfect for cool nights, this stew is the culinary equivalent of sipping a warm hug, ready to turn your dinner table into a cozy refuge of hearty delight. So join me in this flavorful dance, and let every spoonful tell of the tale of flavor, warmth, and homecooked love.
How to Make Beef Stew
Making a homemade beef stew isn’t difficult and we’ll set you up for success, whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned pro.
- Prepare the Beef: Toss cubed stewing beef in a mixture of flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. This not only seasons the meat but also helps thicken the stew later on.
- Brown the Beef: Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven and brown the beef pieces. This step is crucial for developing deep flavors through caramelization.
- Sauté Vegetables: Add chopped onions to the pot and cook until they’re soft and translucent, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Deglaze and Simmer: Pour in beef broth (and red wine if using), bringing to a simmer while continuing to scrape the bottom of the pot. This incorporates all the flavorful bits into the stew.
- Add Remaining Ingredients: Stir in the potatoes, carrots, celery, tomato paste, and rosemary. Reduce the heat, cover, and let it simmer slowly until the beef is tender, usually about 1 hour.
- Thicken the Stew: Mix cornstarch with water to create a slurry. Stir this into the stew towards the end of cooking to reach your desired thickness.
- Final Touches: Add peas and simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Stewing Beef: This is the heart of the stew. I love how it tenderizes over slow cooking, soaking up the broth and spices, becoming irresistibly tender.
Flour: I toss my beef in flour before browning. It’s my little trick for getting that beautiful sear and for thickening the stew, giving it that perfect, hearty consistency.
Garlic Powder: It’s all about layering flavors for me, and garlic powder adds just the right touch of warmth and aroma, mingling beautifully with the beef.
Salt & Black Pepper: These are my seasoning essentials. They wake up the flavors in the stew, making everything taste just right.
Olive Oil: This is what starts it all. Searing the beef in olive oil locks in the flavors and sets the foundation for the entire stew.
Onion: The onion is a flavor cornerstone in my kitchen. It softens into sweet, translucent bits that infuse the stew with a depth of flavor.
Beef Broth: This is the liquid gold that brings everything together, enveloping the beef and veggies in a rich, savory embrace.
Red Wine: When I’m feeling fancy, I add a splash of red wine. It deglazes the pan and adds an unbeatable depth and a hint of sophistication to the stew.
Potatoes: I love the heartiness potatoes add. They break down slightly, thickening the stew and absorbing all the wonderful flavors.
Carrots & Celery: These are my stew staples for crunch and color. They soften up but still add a bit of bite and a burst of freshness.
Tomato Paste: This is my secret for a rich, vibrant stew. It adds a concentrated burst of tomato flavor that really makes the dish pop.
Dried Rosemary or Sprig Fresh: Rosemary adds an aromatic whisper to the stew, a hint of the forest that complements the beef and veggies perfectly.
Cornstarch & Water (2 tablespoons, for slurry): This is my thickening duo. A little slurry at the end brings the stew to just the right consistency, silky and lush.
Peas: I stir these in last for a pop of sweetness and color. They’re like little bright spots of joy in the hearty mix.
How To Thicken Beef Stew?
To thicken beef stew, start by creating a slurry with equal parts cornstarch and water, mixing until smooth. Slowly stir this mixture into the simmering stew, adding just enough to reach your desired thickness. Allow the stew to boil for at least 1-2 minutes after adding the slurry to cook off any starchy taste. Alternatively, you can mash some of the potatoes already in the stew or use a bit of flour mixed with water if cornstarch isn’t available.
Tips & Tricks
Searing the Beef: I always make sure to sear the beef cubes until they’re beautifully browned on all sides. This step locks in the flavors and gives the stew a richer taste. It’s tempting to skip this to save time, but the depth of flavor it adds is absolutely worth it.
Deglazing the Pan: After browning the beef, I deglaze the pan with a bit of red wine or some beef broth. This helps lift all those tasty, caramelized bits off the bottom of the pan, ensuring none of that delicious flavor goes to waste. Plus, it adds an extra layer of complexity to the stew.
Thickening the Stew: My go-to method for thickening the stew is using a cornstarch slurry. I’ve found that adding it towards the end of cooking allows me to control the stew’s thickness better. Just remember to stir it in slowly and give it a minute or two to work its magic.
Adding the Peas: I add the peas in the last few minutes of cooking to keep their vibrant green color and slight crunch. It’s a small detail, but it makes a big difference in the final presentation and texture of the stew.
Freezing for Later: Beef stew freezes beautifully, and I always make a big batch for this reason. I portion the cooled stew into freezer bags, lay them flat in the freezer, and then I have a hearty meal ready to go on busy nights. Just thaw overnight in the fridge or gently reheat from frozen, adding a little extra broth if needed to adjust the consistency.
Can You Freeze Beef Stew?
You can definitely freeze beef stew. It freezes beautifully and makes for easy reheating. Cool the stew completely and then portion it into freezer-safe bags or containers. When you’re ready to enjoy, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, or use the microwave for a quicker option, stirring occasionally to make sure it heats evenly.
What to Serve With Beef Stew?
Crusty Bread or Dinner Rolls: Perfect for soaking up the delicious stew juices.
Mashed Potatoes: Serve the stew over a bed of creamy mashed potatoes for extra comfort.
Steamed Green Beans or Broccoli: A simple, lightly seasoned vegetable side can balance the richness of the stew.
Rice or Egg Noodles: These can act as a base to soak up the stew’s flavorful broth.
A Simple Salad: A crisp, green salad with a light vinaigrette can add a refreshing contrast to the hearty stew.
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Making the Ultimate Beef Stew is a lot like painting a masterpiece. With these tips, you are all set to create a recipe that’s about as comforting and hearty as it gets. Ready to win over some hearts and warm some bellies? Tie on your apron and let’s make some magic!