Easy Beef Stew

A one-pot meal full of hearty meat, veggies, and a broth that just fills you up with cozy goodness: make Easy Beef Stew tonight.

Beef Stew featured image top shot

In a day to day that feels frenetic and stressful, take the time to slow down and enjoy creating and savoring a classic dish that cooks have been riffing on for centuries: beef stew. While there are many variations, some elements persist, and for good reason! Tender chunks of beef, substantial vegetables like potatoes, onion, celery, and carrot, and a thick broth. This is a dish that any time traveler could find, from a medieval pub to a midcentury American family dinner: beef stew has stuck around because it’s simply delicious.

Delicious because the moment you taste a spoonful, you slurp the rich broth: built from a base of beef stock and deepened in flavor by red wine. After that initial taste of broth, you get into the elements that really stick to your ribs. The beef pieces are tender and juicy, and the vegetables provide variety and brightness: both with their flavors and colors. Plus, this is a dish you can improvise on and not break the budget: got a random sprig of thyme lying around? Throw it in. Got a couple of mushrooms leftover, just hanging out in your fridge? Throw them in. Tweaking here and there is part of the fun and you can definitely adjust to your own tastes and preferences.

Stew vs. Soup

Isn’t a stew just a thicker soup? Yes and no. Yes, in that stews are generally thicker than soups – picture this Easy Beef Stew next to a bowl of your typical chicken noodle soup. However, there are thick soups like broccoli cheese soup that are thick without being stew. A stew involves the braising technique of cooking the meat. Braising is just a fancy word for slowly cooking typically tough parts of meat until they are tender. That’s exactly what you’re doing in this Beef Stew.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds stewing beef trimmed and cut into chunks
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 3 large carrots peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 medium potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
  • 3 sticks celery chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 zucchini chopped
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch if necessary
ingredients

How To Make Beef Stew

Step 1: In a bowl toss the beef with the flour and a pinch of salt and pepper until it is all coated.

Beef Stew steps

Step 2: In a large heavy-based pot drizzle in the olive oil then add in the flour-coated beef and onions. Sauté on high for 5-8 minutes or until the beef is browned all over.

Beef Stew steps

Step 3: Deglaze the pot with the beef stock and red wine so that all the tasty nearly bits on the bottom of the pot come off.

Beef Stew steps

Step 4: Add in the carrots, potatoes, celery, garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Give it a stir and cover and cook on low for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Beef Stew steps

Step 5: Add the zucchini into the pot and stir, then cook it again for 15 minutes.

Beef Stew steps

Step 6: Use a spoon to check the thickness of the sauce. If the sauce isn’t thick enough but the meat and veggies are cooked through just mix the corn starch with 3 tablespoons water and then stir it into the pot. Cook it for another 10 – 15 minutes, stirring constantly until the stew has thickened.

Beef Stew steps

FAQs

How can I get the beef tender in stew?

The initial browning followed by the slow cooking at a low temperature is the key. This is braising the meat, and braising turns even inexpensive, tougher cuts of meat into tender morsels.

Why is my stew runny?

You may need to increase the corn starch and water at the end. You can add up to an additional tablespoon of corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water to increase the thickness of stew. Keep stirring as you add any corn starch – it takes a few minutes to thicken.

Why do the bay leaves have to be removed?

Bay leaves, while they impart a lovely herby, woodsy flavor to any dish they simmer in, do not soften as they cook and actually taste bitter if you bite into them directly. So just remove before serving and enjoy the flavor they leave behind.

Can I buy already cut beef?

For sure, it is a time saver and most mainstream groceries have pre-cut stew beef.

Why is my beef not ender?

One of the keys to a really delicious beef stew is the simmer time. Be patient, let it cook for the full time.

Beef Stew featured image top shot

Serving Suggestions

Easy Beef Stew is delicious with any number of sides. A warm, crusty bread, or served over white rice – anything that is starchy will soak up the flavors of this simple but delicious dish.

How to Store Beef Stew

Kind of like its cousin chili, Easy Beef Stew tastes even better the day after it’s cooked. The earthy, warm flavors have had a chance to deepen and mingle, so if you are able to make it a day ahead, go for it. Just let it cool to room temperature and store in the original pot used to make the stew (covered with plastic wrap or the pot lid) or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Just like you would with any leftovers, gently reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave to serve. Freezing ahead is also an option: once the cooked stew is cooled to room temperature, pour into a freezer-safe storage container and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or in your microwave using the Defrost setting.

Beef Stew featured image close up view
Beef Stew featured image top shot

Easy Beef Stew

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 305 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds Stewing Beef trimmed and cut into chunks
  • 3 Tbsp Flour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large Onion roughly chopped
  • 3 cups Beef stock
  • 1 cup dry Red Wine
  • 3 Large Carrots peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 medium Potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
  • 3 sticks Celery chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic crushed
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 tsp Fresh Rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Zucchini chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Cornstarch if necessary

Instructions
 

  • In a bowl toss the beef with the flour and a pinch of salt and pepper until it is all coated.
  • In a large heavy-based pot drizzle in the olive oil then add in the flour-coated beef and onions. Saute on high for 5-8 minutes or until the beef is browned all over.
  • Deglaze the pot with the beef stock and red wine so that all the tasty nearly bits on the bottom of the pot come off.
  • Add in the carrots, potatoes, celery, garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Give it a stir and cover and cook on low for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the zucchini into the pot and stir, then cook it again for 15 minutes.
  • Use a spoon to check the thickness of the sauce. If the sauce isn’t thick enough but the meat and veggies are cooked through just mix the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water and then stir it into the pot. Cook it for another 10 – 15 minutes, stirring constantly until the stew has thickened.

Nutrition

Calories: 305kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 17gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 257mgPotassium: 809mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2649IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 51mgIron: 3mg
Keyword beef stew
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