Savory chunks of well-seasoned beef and vegetables sit nestled in a thick and rich gravy-like sauce that is just begging to be sopped or scooped up.
This hearty beef stew is a one pot classic that is the perfect comfort meal that is ideal for those chilly days.
What Is A Stew? 🍲
In the simplest terms, a stew is a combination of ingredients, usually meat or seafood and vegetables (or even fruit!), that are simmered in a stock or liquid for long periods so that all the flavors can meld and the meat and vegetables can soften up and break down into a luxuriously soft and tender bite. Every culture has at least one stew that is unique to them be it in the seasonal or region specific ingredients they use or the blend of herbs and spices they contain and to make things even more spectacular, every family and household tends to have their own special twist that they add to their stews that make it uniquely theirs.
❤️ Here’s Why You’ll Love This Classic Dish:
- It’s made using simple, clean-eating pantry staples.
- It requires one pot and can be made right on your stove top or even in the oven!
- It comes together from start to finish in less than two hours.
- It is a complete meal packed with hearty beef and fresh herbs and veggies.
- It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free.
- It is a classic comfort-food meal that can be enjoyed on its own or with a side.
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge and can even taste even better the next day making this a great meal to make in advance.
Here’s What You’ll Need To Make This Simple Beef Stew:
- Beef (seasoned with salt and pepper): For most stews, the beef used are usually the tougher cuts or bits that contain a lot of connective tissue that slowly breaks down as your stew simmers. You can get precut cubes or chunks that are ideal for stewing or you can make your own by cutting up various cuts of meat such as chuck, blade, brisket or round. Honestly cheaper cuts are phenomenal here as they tend to be fattier with more connective tissue which will simple melt away into the stew and make it luxuriously flavorful and beefy. Keep in mind you want your chunks to be somewhat sizeable since the meat will shrink up anywhere from 20-50% once cooked.
- Oil: Opt to use a clean, high smoke point oil since we’re going to be using the oil to fry our beef chunks. I’m using peanut oil but avocado oil is also a good choice.
- Onions: Yellow or white onions can be used.
- Chili Garlic Sauce: A small touch of this flavorful sauce adds both depth and heat to the stew taking it to the next level.
- Smoked Paprika: The smokiness and subtle earthy flavor works great in this stew.
- Garlic: Fresh or dehydrated garlic can be used.
- Italian Seasoning: This combination of herbs and spices perfectly seasons our stew. My blend today contains dried basil, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, sage and oregano.
- Celery Seeds: This adds a great herbaceous flavor to our stew.
- Broth: We’re using chicken broth today, this might seem counter intuitive but chicken stock adds the perfect flavor and balances our stew while allowing all other ingredients to shine.
- Chickpeas (aka Garbanzo): Not conventional but I’m adding in a can of chickpeas AND the liquid which is known as aquafaba. Aside from containing nutrients, it also has the benefit of having thickening properties which will allow our stew’s sauce to have a great texture.
- Potatoes: You can use any kind of potato you like or have on hand however a starchy type works best. I’m using russets but Yukon golds are also a great choice. We’ll be cutting our potato into large chunks so that they don’t completely break down while being stewed.
- Carrots: We’ll be cutting our carrots into large 2″ chunks. I like to use the Japanese cutting technique called “rangiri” or the “roll-cut” whereby you position your knife at a 45 degree angle to make your cut, and after each cut, you rotate the carrot 90 degrees. The end result are these gorgeous chunks of carrots that look wonderfully rustic in our stew.
- Tomato Paste: This adds a great kick of umami and a lot of depth and richness to our sauce.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Containing a perfect balance of all flavor elements, this sauce packs so much flavor you really don’t want to skip it.
- Sugar: A touch of sugar is optional but highly recommended as it helps to balance and complement all other elements and flavors.
- Thyme, Spring Onions, Parsley: These are my finishing herbs that will be added after we’re finished our cooking. Since these herbs are fresh, we want them to add their flavor to the dish without being cooked off so it’s important to add it last.
🍆🥕🥔🍠Can I Add Other Things To My Stew?🥬🌽🥦🍄
Absolutely! This is a base recipe with the twist of the chickpeas but you can absolutely mix things up especially when it comes to your vegetables. Some choices you can opt to throw into your stew include:
- Starchy root vegetables such as yams, taro (dasheen), yuca (cassava), sweet potatoes or…
- Other root vegetables such as parsnips and turnips.
- Green Peas.
- Fresh, raw greens such as Kale, Chard, Collard Green etc.
- Butternut Squash.
Or even your protein! Instead of beef you can use cubes or chunks of:
- Game meats such as bison, deer, or elk.
Now, Let Me Show You How Insanely Easy It Is To Make This Stew:
We’ll start by heating our oil on high until it’s shimmering (1). Once it’s hot, we’ll add in our seasoning beef and cook it until they’re seared (2,3). Then we’ll add in the minced onions, the smoked paprika, celery seeds, garlic, Italian seasoning and chili garlic sauce (4).
As you mix the seasonings into the seared beef (5) the onions will begin to sweat and the browned bits on the bottom of the pot will be loosened and mixed into everything for maximum flavoring. Next we’ll add in our potato and carrots and mix them into the seasoned beef and let it cook for 2-3 minutes (6,7).
Then we’ll add in the can of chickpeas and the liquid in the can, the broth, tomato paste and the Worcestershire sauce (8). Give it all a stir to combine everything and bring your pot to a boil before covering it, reducing it to a low simmer, and letting it simmer for 45-60 minutes.
Can I Simmer My Stew In the Oven?
You absolutely can. Before you start making your stew, preheat your oven to 350F (180C) and ensure that you’re using an oven-safe pot with a lid. Once you’ve completed step 8, bring your pot stew to a boil before covering it and placing it in the oven and cook for the same amount of time 45-60 minutes.
Once your stew has been simmered, remove it from the heat, give it a stir, and then add in your sugar (9) and finally your fresh herbs (10). Stir your herbs into the pot just enough to evenly disperse them and then cover your pot and allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes to allow all flavors to meld together.
The very final step is to taste your stew and adjust your flavoring to suit your personal taste.
How Can I Ensure My Stew Is Flavorful?
Let’s review from the start how you can ensure you have the best possible stew that is bursting with flavor.
- Don’t Just Dump Everything in At Once: Follow the recipe’s order and steps and you’ll be on your way to creating layer upon layer of flavor for your dish and we’ll be doing it all in one pot!
- Sear your meat: I can’t stress this enough, but do not skip this step. Searing your meat gives SO MUCH FLAVOR to your stew and it’s the very first step!
- Ensure you’re using Chicken Broth/Stock: While you might think beef stew would need beef stock you’d be surprised how much more flavor you get from using chicken stock instead! The chicken stock allows the beef and all the other flavors and aromatics in the stew to shine while adding a flavor profile that ensures your dish isn’t too “one note”.
- Don’t skip the heat! In this case the heat I’m referring to is the garlic chili sauce. This humble and simple ingredient will take your stew to the next level. Trust me. And if you like spice, go ahead and double the amount!
- Ensure you add in the fresh herbs last – and that the heat is turned off when you do.
- Let your stew sit and rest before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
- Want to add a layer of richness? Add in a tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder mixed into a slurry with 1 tbsp of water. The bitterness of the cocoa powder plays nicely with the other elements and adds a rich depth of flavor to your stew.
- Want more umami? You can add in a splash of soy sauce/tamari or some anchovy paste (or even a dash of fish sauce) to make your stew more savory and add extra umami, just be sure to test and adjust your salt levels to suit your preference.
- Want to thicken your stew’s sauce even more? Okay, so this one has less to do with flavor and more to do with texture and mouthfeel, but adding in a simple slurry of potato starch (1 tbsp potato starch dissolved into 2tbsp water) into the hot bubbling stew will thicken your stew up into a luxuriously thick, mouth-coating consistency that can make you perceive the flavors of the dish more.
You can absolutely enjoy a healthy and hearty bowl of this stew all by itself, it is, after all a complete meal all on its own. Or you can pair your stew with any side of your choosing such as:
- Creamy mashed potatoes or maybe even some cauliflower mash for a low carb option.
- A portion of steamed rice: any kind of rice will do but a stickier medium grain rice is an amazing option. Other great options are steamed brown rice, fragrant jasmine rice, or a portion of this simple coconut saffron rice.
- A portion of cous-cous or even polenta also pairs great.
- Bread: whether it’s a dinner roll or slices of a freshly baked crusty baguette.
- Or maybe even some cornbread or some biscuits (like my gluten free cheddar biscuits!)
Honestly, this stew is one of those perfect cold weather comfort food staples that I really hope you guys enjoy this simple beef stew as much as we do! What do you like to pair your stews with? Let us know in the comments below. And if you get a chance to try this recipe, don’t forget to let us know what you think about it by giving it a rating and leaving a comment!
Kitrusy’s Classic Beef Stew
- 2-3 tbsp peanut oil
- 1 lb beef cut into cubes or chunks
- 1 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 med onion minced
- 1 tsp dried garlic
- ½ tsp Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp celery seeds
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- ½ tbsp Chili Garlic Sauce
- 2 med carrots cut into large chunks
- 2 med Russet Potatoes or Yukon Gold cut into large cubes
- 1 can Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) and water from can
- 2 cups chicken bone broth or stock
- 2-3 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tbsp raw cane sugar (to taste)
- 2 tsp fine thyme leaves only
- 3 tbsp spring onions chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 1 tsp cocoa powder (optional, see notes)
- Sprinkle your fully-thawed beef cubes/chunks with 1 tsp of salt and black pepper.
- To a deep pot, add the oil and heat on high heat until shimmering. Add in the seasoned beef cubes and let cook until well browned.
- Add in the chopped onion, dried garlic, Italian seasoning, celery seeds, smoked paprika and chili garlic sauce and toss to coat the beef cubes and allow it to cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the carrot and potato chunks and coat them in the meat and spices. Let them cook for an additional 2 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Add in the chicken broth, canned chickpeas (and the liquid from the can), the tomato paste and the Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine everything and allow your pot to come to a boil. Cover your pot and allow it to simmer on low for about 45-60 minutes. Note: If you'd like to cook your stew in the oven, ensure you're using an oven-safe pot with a lid and after bringing the stew to a boil, cover you pot and place it into an oven that's been preheated to 350°F for 45-60 minutes.
- Once simmered, turn off the heat and add in the sugar, thyme, chives and parsley, stirring 3-4 strokes just to disperse your herbs. Cover your pot and let it sit undisturbed for at least 15 minutes.
- Taste your stew and adjust your seasoning and salt to suit your personal preference (see notes) before serving.
- Bring any leftovers to room temperature and store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to three months.
- For an extra layer of richness and depth of flavor, add in 1-2 tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder mixed in a tbsp of water to make a slurry.
- If your stew is too thin or you'd prefer a thicker gravy, mix 1 tbsp of potato starch with 2 tbsp of water and add the slurry to your stew while it is still simmering. Be sure you immediately stir the slurry in to disperse it as it begins to thicken immediately. If it doesn't, raise the heat and continue stirring and it should thicken.
- Want to add a pop of color to your stew? Add in 1/2 cup of frozen green peas when you add in your finishing herbs!