There are certain foods that say “It’s Fall!” For some people, it’s pumpkin spice lattes. For us, it’s beef stew.
This easy recipe isn’t fancy, but it’s a tried-and-true classic. We eat it several times a month at our house during the fall and winter — that’s how much we love it.
We always try to make this with homemade bone broth because we like the flavor. If you don’t have bone broth, you can use low sodium canned beef broth too.
What cut of beef is best for beef stew?
Yes, there are packages of beef labeled stew meat. When you order beef from our farm, you get stew meat with a quarter, half or whole beef.
However, it’s important to note that their isn’t a beef cut labeled “stew meat.” It’s actually just trimmings of certain primal cuts of beef.
The best cuts for beef stew are from well-worked muscles, such as the chuck.
Why chuck? Because it gets more tender as it cooks. The reason for this is because the chuck is from the front shoulder and is a stronger, tougher cut of beef that is full of collagen-rich connective tissue. As the beef cooks low and slow, the collagen melts into the beef, and the meat will become more tender as it cooks. Plus, chuck is typically less expensive than other cuts.
If you don’t get your beef from our farm and can’t find stew meat for this recipe, look for a Chuck Roast and cut it into 1-inch chunks.
How do you make beef stew tender? Can you fix tough stew meat?
The secret to making beef stew tender is the cook time. As explained above, certain cuts, like chuck, get more tender as they cook. If you’re using chuck and the beef isn’t tender enough, simply keep cooking until it is tender.
It’s important to note that some beef cuts are quick-cooking cuts, like sirloin. If you use a quick-cooking cut of beef in the stew, it will get tough. Be sure to use the right cut!
What gives beef stew its flavor?
One of the easiest ways to enhance the flavor of beef stew is to brown the beef before cooking. Yes, this step takes a few extra minutes, but it adds key flavor. This is also true for browning the onion and garlic. It adds a richer flavor to the stew by browning in advance.
What are the best vegetables for beef stew?
Almost any root vegetables work in this easy beef stew recipe. The most classic options are carrots, onions and potatoes, and that’s what we’ve typically do. Other great options are celery, parsnips and sweet potatoes. Here are a few tips on the veggies:
- Potatoes: We like Yukon potatoes for this recipe. Cut into chunks.
- Carrots: Carrots add some sweetness. Cut int 2″ chunks.
- Celery: If you’d like to have bites of celery in the soup, cut in 1″ chunks.
- Sweet Potatoes: Sweet Potatoes are a great substitute for carrots (not potatoes) because they have similar sweetness
- Parsnips: Parsnips can be harder to find, but they’re a great addition to this stew. You can add them with the potatoes, carrots and onions.
What are good side dishes to serve with beef stew?
Beef stew is a one-pot meal. We like to serve it with crusty bread, and sometimes a small side-salad.
Can you freeze beef stew?
Yes! But, you may not have many leftovers because it’s so good. This stew freezes well. Once it’s cooled completely, transfer to airtight containers. Leave about 1/2″ at the top of the container for the stew to expand. This beef stew can last up to 3 months in the freezer.
Easy Beef Stew
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 2 pounds Beef Stew Meat or Chuck Roast Cut Into 1-Inch Chunks
- Salt And Pepper
- 1 whole Medium Onion Diced
- 3 cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 can Tomato Paste 6 ounces
- 4 cups Beef Stock homemade, if possible, or low sodium store bought broth
- Several Dashes Worcestershire
- 1/2 teaspoon Sugar
- 4 whole Carrots Peeled And Diced
- 2 whole Potatoes Peeled And Diced
- 2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Parsley
- Salt and pepper the stew meat. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add butter, and as soon as it melts, brown half the stew meat until the outside gets nice and brown, about 2 minutes. Remove the meat from the pot, and add the rest of the meat to the pot and brown it, too. Remove it to the same plate. Set the meat aside.
- Add the onion and garlic to the pot. Stir and coat it with the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Cook for two minutes.
- Add the tomato paste to the pot. Stir it into the onions and let it cook for two more minutes.
- Pour in the beef stock, stirring constantly. Add the Worcestershire and sugar. Add the beef back to the pot, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours.
- After 1 1/2 to 2 hours, add the diced potatoes and carrots to the pot. Stir to combine, put the lid back on the pot, and let it simmer for another 30 minutes. Add beef broth as needed to reach desired consistency.
- Add parsley just prior to serving. Salt and pepper as needed.
ONE MORE THING
Do you want to learn more about beef? Join our weekly e-newsletter where we share farm happenings, recipes and beef availability. Sign-up and get a cheat sheet with 9-must-ask questions before buying beef directly from a farmer. Or, we have an entire ebook about beef that goes through purchasing and preparing beef from a cattle farmers perspective.
Here are a few other links you may like:
- What everybody ought to know about beef cuts
- Buying a Cow. How Much Beef Is It?
- Is It Done Yet? The Best Meat Thermometer
- How We Raise Our Grass Fed Beef
- Bonfire Burger
- Prime Rib Roast with Garlic Herb Butter