classic beef stew
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). 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) to whip up a quick soup or hearty stew. Last but not least, potatoes are substantial 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!
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless beef chuck roast (cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces)
- 2 medium garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 oz anchovy filets (rinsed, patted dry, and finely chopped)
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 carrots (peeled and cut into 1/2 inch rounds)
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
- 1 tsp sea salt + 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 Cup all purpose flour
- 2 Cups red wine (I use Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon)
- 3 Cups low sodium beef broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 lb yukon gold potatoes (peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks)
- 1 1/2 Cup frozen pearl onions
- 1 Cups frozen peas
- 8 oz white button mushrooms (sliced into thick pieces)
- 1–2 Tablespoons olive oil to brown the mushrooms
- Adjust an oven rack to the lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees
- Heat 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven, until it is starting to ripple
- Pat the pieces of beef dry with a paper towel and brown half of the beef in the dutch oven
- Allow the beef to brown over medium heat (about 8 minutes) and turn the pieces to brown the opposite side
- When the first batch of beef is browned, remove the beef from the dutch oven and place it in a large bowl
- Add 1 tablespoon 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)
- Once the second batch of beef has browned, add the first batch of beef and it’s juices back into the dutch oven and add the onions and carrots to the pot as well – season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon 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 the beef 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 and cook in the oven for 1 hour.After the stew has been simmering in the oven for 60minutes, carefully remove the dutch oven from the oven add the potatoes to the pot. Replace the lid over the dutch oven and put the pot back in the oven to continue cooking for 30 minutes
- While the stew is in the oven, brown the mushrooms by heating 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook 1/3 of the mushrooms at a time until they are golden brown on both sides, 6-8 minutes.
- Remove the stew from the oven and place on the stove over 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 slide in and out of the potato
- Let the stew simmer until the potatoes are cooked through.
- Add browned mushrooms, the pearl onions and peas to the dutch oven and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes.
- Taste the stew and add salt and pepper as necessary
- Garnish with rosemary and enjoy!
Prep all of your ingredients before you start cooking for an easy, enjoyable cooking process.