Real-Deal Beef Stew

Come one, come all, and marvel at the first recipe I am here to share with you. In a sea of InstantPot, Crockpot, and all-around “easy” beef stew recipes, I am here to present a not-so-easy beef stew that will be sure to tantalize your tastebuds. Now I know what you’re thinking…”India, there is a REASON we all flock to the super easy beef stew recipes!” But let me tell you, the best things in life do not come easy. And this beef stew recipe is going to be worth the extra effort. That is why I am here to walk you through a real-deal beef stew recipe, hand in virtual hand.

Deep breaths, and…here we go.

In my humble opinion, what makes a good beef stew is bite sized chunks of ever so tender beef, satisfying chunks of vegetables, and a few hours to all mingle together.IMG_6051

So, the first thing we are going to do is to brown the beef. To start, you want to cut up your chuck beef if you didn’t already buy it cut. While you’re at it, go ahead and cut your bacon into little squares. Make sure each piece is a size that you would comfortably be able to fit in your mouth. Heat your oil in your dutch oven and when it is nice and warm, throw in your beef chunks. Make sure to get a nice browning going on those pieces. The idea is not to cook it all the way through, so medium-high heat is what we are looking for here. Now is a good time to preheat your oven to 375.

IMG_6065IMG_6071While that is browning, cut your veggies into nice bite sized chunks (on a clean cutting board), whatever size makes your heart happy. I like to slice my carrots and my celery with diagonal cuts, my mushrooms into hearty chunks, and my baby potatoes in half. I like to dice my onions so that you won’t get a huge bite of onion (and the onion will cook faster if it is smaller).

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Once the beef is browned, remove it to a plate and use the remaining oil and beef juices to cook the diced onion and minced garlic. One way to make that mincing go faster is to use a garlic press or a lemon zester to make sure that garlic is small. If your mincing of the garlic did not yield impossibly tiny pieces of garlic, have no fear. This garlic will cook for quite some time, and will have an opportunity to mellow out the bigger hunks. The beauty of a beef stew is that if your knife skills aren’t Master Chef worthy, you can just say that your stew is has “a hearty rustic charm”. Back to the onions and garlic! Cook on medium heat until your onions are kind of clear in color. Then toss in your bacon pieces until it is just a little cooked, but not completely cooked.

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Next, add your beef broth, wine, tomato paste, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and celery to the mix. Make sure you stir well to get that onion and garlic paste off of the bottom and mixed well into the liquid. Then add your bay leaves and your thyme sprigs to the pot. Then take a swig of your wine, straight from the bottle (because I mean hey, life is short and someone is coming over to eat this later, and you deserve a little wine).IMG_6087

Let this concoction boil for about 10 minutes, before putting the lid on and transferring to the oven to cook for about two hours. During that time, go sit down with a glass of wine! You’ve been working so hard (but don’t forget to set a timer). Check your stew at about an hour and a half to see if each kind of veggie and beef pieces are tender. If you want it to be softer, then cook it a little longer! But now is a good time to taste your liquid and see if you like the way it tastes. I have a feeling you will, but if you need more salt or pepper, then go for it! Now is also the time to take about a cup of liquid aside and add some flour to it, in order to thicken your stew. Take your liquid and flour mixture and reunite it with the rest of the stew. Mix well.IMG_6134

When it has cooked to your desired tenderness, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving it up over some cooked egg noodles or alongside a beautiful loaf of crunchy bread for sopping up all that fantastic stew. Try your very best to be sure to not serve up one of your bay leaves or thyme sprigs, as those aren’t particularly palatable. It isn’t the end of the world if you forget though, it’s just a little embarrassing if your guest pulls a bay leaf out of their mouth with a look of bewilderment.

Congratulations, my friend. You’ve made a real-deal beef stew with your very own hands, and you survived! You are unstoppable! Let me be the first to say, I am proud of you. Enjoy now, and leave the cleanup for later.IMG_6172IMG_6178

*Note: Always use alcohol that you would actually drink to cook with. I used a red blend by Apothic that I already had open, but this stew also goes well with beer! Particularly a Guinness. Have fun with it! Make it your own!


Real Deal Beef Stew

  • Servings: 6-8
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A hearty stew flavored with savory herbs, red wine, and love.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. chuck roast or stew meat cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 8 strips thick cut bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • olive oil to sauté
  • 4 cups of beef broth
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 medium onion, yellow or white
  • 4 large carrots peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups baby red potatoes sliced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 stalks of celery sliced
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 tbsp flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • several fresh thyme sprigs
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced

Directions

  1.  Preheat your oven to 375. Heat a large oven proof pot or dutch oven over medium high heat with olive oil. Season beef with salt and pepper and add beef pieces to the pot to brown. Once browned, remove from pot. Retain liquid and oil.
  2. Add diced onions and minced garlic to pot with leftover oil, possibly adding more if necessary, making sure the garlic doesn’t stick to the bottom. Cook until the onions are almost clear. Add chopped bacon until almost cooked and has released fat. Add beef back to the pot.
  3. Add beef broth, wine, tomato paste, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and celery to the mix. Stir well and scrape bottom of pan to deglaze pan. Then add bay leaves and thyme sprigs, and stir well.
  4. Allow mixture to boil covered for 10-15 minutes before transferring pot to the oven to cook for 1 hr- 1 1/2 hrs.
  5. With 30 min. left to cook, check on the tenderness of the vegetables and the beef to determine if the remaining time is necessary. The longer you let it cook, the more tender the beef will be.
  6. Take 1 cup of cooking liquid from the pot and mix 1/4 cup of flour into it to thicken the liquid. Add this mixture back to the pot. Stir well and allow to cook for however long is remaining.
  7. Remove from oven, and remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs from the stew. Serve over cooked egg noodles or alongside crispy artisan bread.

I would love to see your creations! Post them to instagram using #MyDinnerDesigner so I can see how well you did.