As I was sitting at work last night all hungry and tired, I read an email from Ashlee, a reader who had recently had some out of this world beef stew. She was writing to ask if I had a recipe, which I didn’t, but her description of the beef stew that she had tasted made my mouth water, so I knew I had to make some ASAP.
This beef stew knocked my socks off. Okay, so maybe I was really hungry and really in the mood for red meat, but it is still undeniably good. Not to mention, it was seriously easy to make.
I’m a firm believer that any time beef and tomatoes come together, red wine should join the party, but I made this stew sans red wine just to make sure that it would still be delicious for those who didn’t want to use wine. I have to say, it was surprisingly good even without the wine, but if you want to use wine, just sub one cup of the beef broth with whatever red wine you have on hand.
My pot made about 8 cups, which could be anywhere from 6-8 servings. In the south we put anything with any sort of gravy over rice, so I suggest stretching this beef stew even further by serving it over some inexpensive rice. You’ll get 8 big servings that way.
Chunky Beef Stew
Chunky Beef Stew
A chunky beef stew made affordable with lots of vegetables and rice to soak up the rich sauce.
- 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. boneless stew meat $6.19
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour $0.03
- 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
- 1 medium onion $0.36
- 4 cloves garlic $0.32
- 3 oz. tomato paste $0.27
- 3 cups beef broth* $0.45
- 1 whole bay leaf $0.15
- 3/4 tsp dried thyme $0.04
- 3/4 tsp dried rosemary $0.04
- to taste freshly cracked pepper $0.05
- 1/2 lb. about 3 carrots $0.55
- 1 lb. potatoes $0.90
- 1 cup frozen peas $0.45
- 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce $0.05
- 1/4 bunch parsley, optional $0.21
Cut the beef into smaller, bite-sized chunks. Add the beef and flour to a small bowl and toss the beef in the flour until it is well coated.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When it is hot, add about half of the beef chunks and cook until golden brown. Once browned, remove the beef, add the second batch, and cook until browned again. Try not to stir the beef as it is browning, that will make it take longer. Adding all of the beef at once will over crowd the pot and cause moisture to build up, which will also prevent browning. The beef does not have to be fully cooked at this point, just browned on the outside.
While the beef is browning, chop the onion into wedges and mince the garlic. After the beef has browned, add the onion and garlic to the pot, and saute it for 2-3 minutes. If the browned bits on the bottom of the pot become very dark or look like they will burn, move on to the next step immediately. The onions do not need to be fully cooked.
Add the tomato paste and beef broth to the pot. Stir the pot until all of the browned bits have dissolved off of the bottom. Return the browned beef to the pot and also add the bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, and a generous dose of freshly cracked pepper. Stir to combine.
Place a lid on the pot and allow it to come up to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, turn the heat down to low and let it continue to simmer for 30 minutes. If it stops bubbling (simmering) at any point, turn the heat up just slightly.
While the pot is simmering, peel and slice the carrots. Wash the potatoes well and cut them into 3/4 inch cubes. Once the pot has simmered for 30 minutes, add the carrots, potatoes, and peas. Cover the pot again and let simmer for another 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Stir the worcestershire sauce into the stew. Taste the stew and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Roughly chop a handful of parsley and sprinkle it over top. Serve hot.
*I use concentrated beef broth (bouillon) + water to make broth, which is less expensive than canned broths.
Step By Step Photos
Most grocery stores sell beef “stew meat.” It’s already cut into chunks, but those chunks are HUGE, so I cut each one into about three smaller pieces. My package was 1.3 pounds. Anything between one and 1.5 pounds would be fine.
Toss the beef chunks with flour until they’re coated. The flour not only helps thicken the stew, but it helps the browning/caramelization of the beef, which creates a nice deep flavor.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add about half of the beef and let it brown. Stirring the beef will keep it from browning, so just stir once when the bottom sides get brown. The beef does not have to be completely cooked or completely browned on all sides. Just let it get fairly browned. Remove the browned pieces from the pot and then brown the second half. Remove the second batch of beef once it’s browned.
While the beef is browning, cut the onions and mince the garlic. I wanted my stew to be chunky, so I cut the onions into wedges rather than dicing it. Cook the onions and garlic in the pot for a few minutes. If it begins to look like the browned bits are going to burn (like mine, see how dark it is?) move on to the next step right away.
Add the beef broth and tomato paste to the pot. Stir the liquid well to dissolve the browned bits off of the bottom of the pot. I used 3 oz. of tomato paste, which is half of one of those small cans, or roughly 1/4 cup. You can freeze the remaining tomato paste for use in another recipe (I just pop it in a ziplock bag).
Once the browned bits have dissolved into the liquid, add the beef back into the pot, along with the bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, and a good bit of freshly cracked pepper.
Stir it all together and make sure the beef is under the liquid. Place a lid on the pot and let it come up to a simmer. Let the pot simmer for 30 minutes.
While it’s simmering, prepare the rest of the vegetables. I like to cut the carrots on a bias because it makes them pretty. You can peel the potatoes if you’d like, but I leave my peel on and just wash them well. Cut the potatoes into a small cube so that they’ll actually fit on a spoon.
Once the pot has simmered for 30 minutes it will have also thickened. Stir in the vegetables, put the lid back on top, and let it simmer for another 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the worcestershire sauce and adjust the salt and pepper if needed.
Sprinkle some chopped parsley over top if desired. Enjoy!