I have this classic beef stew cooking and the house is filled with fragrances of rosemary, red wine, and beef. The simmering stew fogs up the windows and warms the house on a crisp December day. Nothing comforts me more than a hot bowl of stew on a cold day – I hope you enjoy cooking and feasting on this recipe as much as I do!
In my search for the perfect beef stew recipe I used Julia Child’s authentic Boeuf Bourguignon as inspiration and mixed in the modern ease and scientific accuracy of America’s Test Kitchen. The result was a savory – meaty broth (thanks to the addition of glutamates from anchovies and tomato paste), tender chunks of beef, and hearty potatoes – evoking images of chilly nights spent near the fire place. I omitted the pork from both Julia and ATK’s recipe and added earthy rosemary, which is my favorite compliment to beef.
Some important tips to follow is to pat the beef dry so that it will brown properly and to cook the mushrooms in 3 batches. In both cases wet beef and a crowded mushroom pan creates steam that prevents the items from properly browning and developing good flavor.
One of my favorite things about this dish is that you can have most of the ingredients on hand at any time. The peas and onions are frozen (buy them in advance and cook the stew when you’re ready). I even buy the beef in bulk and keep 1lb portions frozen until I’m ready to use them. Cartons of chicken broth and cans of tomato paste can last a long time in the pantry and you should always have them on hand (especially during colder winter months). Last but not least, potatoes are hearty and stay fresh much longer than most produce.
Shop for the items the next time you’re in the store and you’ll be ready to comfort your family with a nutritious bowl of beef stew on a whim!Print
classic beef stew
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless chuck-eye roast (cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces)
- 2 medium garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 oz anchovy filets (rinsed, patted dry, and finely chopped) – Don’t be scared to use anchovies! They will give you a savory base and they melt into the sauce with no fishy taste!
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 carrots (peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
- 1 medium yellow onion (sliced in half from root to tip and sliced into 1/8 pieces)
- 1tsp sea salt + 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 Cup white, unbleached flour
- 2 Cups red wine (I use Pinot Noir)
- 3 Cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 lb yukon gold potatoes (scrubbed and cut into 1 inch pieces)
- 1 1/2 Cup frozen pearl onions (defrosted)
- 1 Cups frozen peas (defrosted)
- 8 oz white button mushrooms (sliced into thick pieces)
- 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil to brown the mushrooms
- salt and pepper to taste
- Adjust an oven rack to the lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees Farenheit
- Heat 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil (reserve the other 1 Tablespoon of oil for later) over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven
- You want the oil to be very hot [starting to smoke] so you can develop a nice caramelized crust on the beef
- While the oil is heating cut 1.5lbs of boneless chuck-eye roast into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- Pat the pieces of beef dry with a paper towel and brown half of the beef into the bottom of the dutch oven
- Allow the beef to brown over medium heat (about 8 minutes) and turn the pieces to brown the opposite side
- While the first batch of beef is browning, mince 2 medium garlic cloves and the anchovy filets together to form a paste
- When the first batch of beef is browned, remove the beef from the dutch oven and place it in a large bowl
- Add 1Tbsp more of vegetable oil to the pot and dry the second batch of beef with a paper towel before placing it in pot to brown (if the fond or the beef starts to burn – lower the heat to medium low)
- While the second batch of beef is browning, peel 4 carrots and slice them into 1/2 inch pieces then set them aside
- Slice 1 medium yellow onion by slicing it in half then slicing each half (from root to tip) into 1/8 in thick pieces
- Once the second batch of beef has browned, add the first batch back into the dutch oven and add the onions and carrots to the pot as well – season with 1tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Increase the heat to medium high and cook – stirring with a wooden spoon until the onions are softened (about 2 minutes)
- Add the garlic and anchovy paste to the pot and cook, stiring frequently for 2 minutes until fragrant
- Add the tomato paste to the pot and stir with a wooden spoon until the pieces of beef and vegetables are coated with the tomato paste
- Sprinkle 1/4 Cup white unbleached flour over the meat mixture and cook – stirring frequently – until no white flour spots are left
- Add 2 cups of pinot noir (use a wine that you would enjoy drinking – cooking concentrates the flavor) to the pot and use the wooden spoon to scrape up any pieces of fond stuck to the bottom of the pot
- Let the wine come to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes until the liquid starts to thicken
- Add 3 cups low sodium chicken broth to the pot, stir well to combine, and let the broth come to a simmer (you can increase the heat until the broth boils, then lower it back down to a low simmer)
- Place 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary into the pot – cover the dutch oven with it’s lid and [using oven mits] transfer the pot to the 300 degree oven
Allow the stew to cook slowly in the oven for 60minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients
- Prepare one pound of yukon gold potatoes: scrub the skin under running water, quarter the potatoes into 1 inch pieces and set aside
- Thaw 1 1/2 Cups frozen pearl onions and 1 Cup peas by setting out on the counter while the stew simmers in the oven
- After the stew has been simmering in the oven for 60minutes, carefully remove the dutch oven from the oven and the potatoes to the pot. Replace the lid over the dutch oven and put the pot back in the oven to continue cooking for 30minutes
- Prepare 8 oz of button mushrooms by wiping with a damp towel and slicing the mushrooms into hearty slices
- To brown the mushrooms, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and cook the mushrooms 1/3 at a time (crowding the skillet will cause steam and will prevent the mushrooms from browning properly
- Remove the pot from the oven and place over a medium high heat. Remove the bay leaves and the rosemary stems.
- Once the liquid starts to boil, check the potatoes for doneness by piercing them with a fork. The fork should easily pierce the potato.
- Let the pot boil until the potatoes are cooked through.
- Add the pearl onions and peas to the dutch oven and continue to cook for 10-5 minutes.
- Taste the stew and add salt and pepper to taste
- Garnish with rosemary and enjoy!