This easy beef stew recipe is a cozy, hearty dish that's incredibly simple to make, yet bursting with delectable flavors. With common ingredients you likely have in your kitchen, it's a go-to for comfort food cravings during the fall, but is equally satisfying year-round.
In this post, I'll be sharing all the essential ingredients, a detailed step-by-step cooking process, and expert tips to help you craft the most mouthwatering and flavorful, yet most tender beef stew right at home.
This classic beef stew offers tender beef chunks, savory vegetables, and a rich, aromatic broth that's sure to warm your soul.
Whether you're a novice cook or a seasoned pro, this beef stew is a fuss-free winner for satisfying your taste buds and filling your home with mouth-watering aromas.
Below you'll find everything you need to make beef stew. Each of these ingredients plays a crucial role in creating a well-balanced and flavorful beef stew.
1. Beef Chuck Roast: The beef chuck roast is the star of the stew, providing the hearty and tender meat that's central to the dish.
2. Red Wine: Red wine adds depth and complexity to the stew's flavor, infusing it with rich and fruity notes while also tenderizing the meat.
3. Beef Broth: Beef broth serves as the flavorful base of the stew, creating a savory, comforting liquid that enhances the overall taste.
4. Tomato Paste: Tomato paste contributes a subtle sweetness and a hint of acidity, complementing the meat and adding a well-rounded flavor.
5. Balsamic Vinegar: Balsamic vinegar lends a touch of sweetness and acidity, balancing the flavors in the stew and imparting a slightly tangy note.
6. Bacon: Bacon brings smoky and savory tastes.
7. Salt: Salt is a fundamental seasoning that enhances the flavors of all the other ingredients.
8. Black Pepper: Black pepper adds a gentle heat and a hint of spiciness.
9. Garlic: Garlic provides a fragrant and aromatic base resulting in a warm and savory essence.
10. Bay Leaves: Bay leaves are added to stew to enhance flavor and provide a subtle, aromatic quality to the dish.
Additionally, I've included vegetables:
11. Carrots: Carrots add a touch of natural sweetness and a vibrant color to the stew. With the nice texture of the carrots and the baby potatoes I find myself seeking them out to have in the same bites as the meat.
12. Celery: Celery provides a mild, earthy flavor and adds a pleasing crunch to the stew.
13. Baby Potatoes: Baby potatoes offer a starchy element and provide a satisfying, hearty component to the dish.
Instructions for Making Dutch Oven Beef Stew
Here are easy-to-follow instructions for making easy beef stew at home:
Step 1. Trim excess fat from beef chuck roast and season the beef with salt and black pepper on all sides.
Step 2. In a large pot, heat some oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook the bacon until it turns delightfully crispy, then set it aside.
Step 3. Over medium-high heat, sear the beef for about 6-7 minutes, ensuring it takes on a beautiful brown hue. Once done, place it alongside the bacon.
Step 4. In the same pot, add the chopped onion and sauté it for 4 minutes until it becomes translucent. Add the garlic and let it cook for an additional minute.
Step 5. Stir in the tomato paste and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, blending them harmoniously for 1-2 minutes.
Step 6. Pour in the red wine and stir well. Let it simmer until it reduces by half, which will enhance the flavors. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot with a spatula to release any tasty, caramelized bits.
Step 7. Return the browned beef to the pot and gently pour in the beef broth.
Step 8. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and add bay leaves to infuse the stew with its distinct flavor.
Step 9. Cover the pot and let everything cook for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes at 300 degrees, allowing the flavors to meld.
Step 10. At the end of this time, open the lid and generously add all your fresh vegetables: carrots, celery, and baby potatoes.
Step 11. Cover it up once more and continue cooking for an additional 1 hour and 30 minutes until everything is tender and the flavors are perfectly blended.
Tips for Success
Here are some valuable tips for making a hearty, flavorful beef stew.
1. Choose the Right Cut: Opt for tougher, more flavorful cuts of beef like chuck or round. They become tender and flavorful when slow-cooked in the stew.
2. Trim Excess Fat. Trim the excess fat from the beef chuck roast, but don't remove it all. Keeping some fat enhances the tenderness of the meat and adds flavor to the stew.
3. Cut the Chuck Roast to be evenly sized. When they are bite-sized, each piece of meat cooks at the same rate.
4. Sear the Meat: Before adding it to the stew, sear the meat to lock in its juices and develop a rich, savory flavor. To achieve maximum browning, sear the meat in batches.
5. Layer Flavors: Build depth by sautéing onions, garlic, and tomato paste, which adds a wonderful base of flavor.
6. Deglaze with Wine: Pour in wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom for added richness.
7. Low and Slow: Cook your stew on low heat for an extended period. Low and slow cooking allows the meat to become tender and absorb all the flavors.
8. Use Fresh Herbs: Add fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or bay leaves for an aromatic infusion.
9. Vegetables Matter: Experiment with a variety of vegetables, like carrots, potatoes, celery and more to add texture, color, and nutrition to your stew.
10. Homemade Broth: Make sure to use high-quality beef broth or prepare your homemade beef broth.
11. Balanced Seasoning: Season your stew in stages, starting with the meat, then the base, and finally adjusting the seasoning as it cooks.
12. Check for Tenderness: Beef stew is ready when the meat is fork-tender and the flavors have melded beautifully.
13. Refrigerate Overnight: Stews often taste even better the next day, so consider making it in advance and refrigerating it to let the flavors marry.
14. Enjoy the Variations: Don't be afraid to experiment with different herbs, spices, and ingredients to make your beef stew truly unique.
Toss out any beef stew left unrefrigerated for too long. If it's been sitting at room temperature for more than 2 hours in mild weather or just 1 hour in very hot conditions over 90°F, it's no longer safe to eat. for more information on food safety, check the resource provided.
- Cooling Beef Stew. Allow the beef stew to cool to room temperature before storing.
- Airtight Container Storage. Once cooled, transfer the stew into airtight containers, ensuring that they are sealed tightly to prevent air from getting in.
- Portioning for Reheating. Portion the stew into smaller containers, making it easier to reheat only what you need.
- Labeling for Freshness. Label the containers with the date to help keep track of freshness.
- Fridge Placement. Place the containers on the middle shelf of the fridge, where the temperature is most consistent.
- Beef Stew Shelf Life. Stored properly, beef stew can stay fresh and safe to eat for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.
Reheating beef stew is simple. Just follow these steps to make your beef stew warm and tasty again:
- Take your stew out of the fridge.
- Pour it into a microwave-safe dish or a saucepan.
- Heat it on the stove over low to medium heat or in the microwave in short bursts, stirring occasionally.
- Keep an eye on it to make sure it's hot but not boiling.
- Once it's heated through, serve and enjoy!
For stew, it's best to use a tasty, strong red wine. You can pick from Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot. Just make sure it's a red wine you like to drink. The flavor of the wine will mix with the stew, so choose one you enjoy.
To skim fat off beef stew and make it less oily, cool it, use a fat separator or refrigeration to separate the fat, then skim it off with a spoon or blot with a paper towel. Optionally, strain the stew through a fine-mesh sieve.
If your stew is too thin, you can thicken it with a cornstarch or flour slurry, or simply let it simmer uncovered to reduce.
Beef stew is ready when the meat is fork-tender and the flavors have melded beautifully.
Check Out More Stew Recipes
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Easy Beef Stew Recipe
- a Large Dutch Oven
- 3 pounds beef chuck roast, (trim excess fat and cut into 1½-inch pieces)
- 4 oz thick-cut bacon, no sugar added, (cut into small pieces)
- 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1¼ teaspoons salt, (and more to taste)
- black pepper, (to taste)
- 1 large yellow onion, (cut into 8 sections)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 carrots, (peeled and cut them into 2-inch long pieces at a diagonal angle)
- 1 pound baby potatoes, (keep potatoes smaller than ¾ oz whole; cut larger ones in half)
- 4-5 celery sticks, (cut them into 2-inch long pieces at a diagonal angle)
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Pat the beef cubes dry with paper towels and season them with salt and black pepper on all sides.
- In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat and cook the bacon until it turns crispy, then set it aside.
- In the same pot, brown beef cubes in batches for about 3 minutes on each side over medium-high heat, and then set them aside.
- Sauté chopped onion for 4 minutes, add garlic for 1 minute, then stir in tomato paste and balsamic vinegar for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in the red wine and simmer until it reduces by half. Use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pot to release any flavorful caramelized bits.
- Return the browned beef to the pot, pour in the beef broth, and add bay leaves. Give it a good stir, and allow it to simmer.
- Cover the pot and cook in a preheated oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, add carrots, celery, and potatoes. Stir, cover, return to the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until beef and vegetables are tender.
- Taste and adjust seasonings before serving.