Beef stew is a classic, especially in winter when it's cold. My grandmother had a secret beef stew recipe, and she was kind enough to pass it on to me.
At culinary school, I also learned to add more variation to my beef stew game. I love doing it when there are many of us at the table, and it delights everyone! So, check out what I think are the best beef stew recipes. They're easy to make and delicious.
If you're unsure of which beef stew recipe to follow, check out the first recipe, which is quite detailed. However, if you're in a hurry, try out either the second or third beef stew meat recipe.
I’ll start with the star of the show – the stew beef. I recommend a chuck roast beef stew meat. You can find this online, at your local grocery store, or chop a chuck roast.
When shopping for this stew beef, you want to pick a piece with intramuscular fat (those white lines of fat you see throughout the stew meat).
By the way, this is called marbling. It indicates a nice fat content on the stew meat, and it will get nice and tender while you braise it in your stew.
For this recipe, I'm using 2 pounds of chuck roast. You can go for this quantity too. If you're going to have a large family sitting at the table, you can buy a larger piece of meat.
However, you have to do the math and adjust the quantity for the rest of the ingredients accordingly.
After you have all the ingredients ready, you need to start by cleaning your produce before getting to work.
Wash the stew meat pieces in a bowl under running water. Cut them (if you bought chuck roasts) into smaller square-like pieces.
Sharpen your knives and quarter the potatoes depending on the size. Make sure they're all about the same size. That way, they will cook at the same rate and get nice and tender in your stew over the slow cooker.
Meanwhile, as for red potatoes, I suggest you leave the skin on. However, that's optional. If you want to remove it, go ahead. After quartering the potatoes, set them aside.
Then, do the same thing with celery. I suggest you cut them into nice bite-sized pieces and set them aside.
Do the same thing with the carrots. Just make sure you peel and clean them. Then, dice them up into bite-sized pieces also. Next, dice up one onion as always.
Continue by salting the beef stew meat. You're not supposed to add any seasoning to it at this point because we're going to sear it over high heat. When you do that, a lot of the seasonings like pepper or herbs burn up over high heat.
I suggest that you only apply a little salt to begin flavoring the stew meat. Then, add all the seasonings a little later.
Next, prepare your dutch oven. You can also use a skillet. Add a little avocado or olive oil to it over medium-high heat.
When the oil gets hot, place the beef stew meat pieces down into the skillet. Give it a minute or two to develop some nice brown color or crust.
Then, you need to flip them over. You want to ensure the stew meat is brown on all sides in about five to eight minutes.
When that's done, leave all the delicious pieces of stew beef in the pan. You can get back to it later.
Browning the stew meat at the beginning without letting the juices escape is important to flavor the stew.
Continue by adding the onions and carrots to a crock or instant pot. Add two tablespoons of garlic paste along with two tablespoons of tomato paste and one tablespoon of beef base.
Give everything a nice mix to allow those flavors to come together like a family reunion.
Your house is going to smell so good right now. Tell your wife or husband to thank me later.
Leave your celery out at this point because celery cooks quickly. You're going to add that at the end.
After some moments, continue with a couple tablespoons of all-purpose flour. This is going to be a thickening agent for the stew.
Mix that in until the paste forms and the raw flour taste is cooked off. It usually takes about a minute or two. Reduce the heat to about medium when you're doing that.
Continue by adding three cups of stew beef stock. Once the beef stock hits the pot, increase the heat to get a nice simmer. As the flour absorbs, the liquid starts to thicken up.
Get everything off the sides of the instant pot just to make sure nothing burns. You don't want anything sticking. Let the stew simmer for a bit, as always.
Continue by adding some fresh herbs. You could try some rosemary thyme, two bay leaves, and the Worcestershire sauce. These will add a lot of flavor.
Now it's time to let the stew beef make its grand entry. Add the stew beef pieces back in. Mix them with the stew and cover the instant pot.
Again, let the stew simmer on low to medium heat for about an hour and a half or until it tenderizes.
You can always give it the fork test to ensure it's nice and tender.
The last 30 minutes is when we'll add our potatoes and celery. After doing that, cover with the lid.
After some minutes, test one of the potatoes with your fork. If the potatoes are tender, that's a good sign.
Check the stew beef with the fork too. The flesh should be tender, and the meat grains need to separate effortlessly.
Towards the end of the cooking, add a little seasoning – salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder. A little cayenne pepper works well if you want to increase the spice factor a bit.
Make sure you taste as you go and adjust accordingly.
By now, you'll see that things have thickened up a bit as you add more seasoning and as the water in the instant pot evaporates and vaporizes.
Add in some frozen peas in the last 10 minutes. If you don't like peas, you should simply grow up :). Jokes aside, if you don't like peas, you can feel free to leave them out—no big deal. I do enjoy the peas and think it adds a nice bit of color to the dish.
That, my friend, is a beautiful bowl of beef stew braise you have made yourself. All you need now is a spoon and some side dishes. It's up to you!
You have to serve it very hot at the table, with that rich gravy and delicious stew. It is a stew recipe that is great for resting, either for a few hours or before bed.
If you prepare it with potatoes, they do not get along with the fridge's cold or the freezer (although if you have any leftovers, it can last 3 to 4 days in the fridge).
If you intend to freeze it, I encourage you to prepare the recipe the same way but without potatoes.
You can serve a hot beef stew with a piece of crusty homemade bread or mashed potatoes. Don't get too ashamed to dip your bread in it. It is fabulous…and worth it!
You can use beef stew meat in any recipe where you need to chop up and braise the meat in low heat. They can be used in tacos, stews, and soups – I like to use them in my noodle soups.
Cook them in low heat with a slow cooker and in a broth for up to two hours. You should never rush stewing beef meat, or else it will get chewy and tough. Stew meat is a pretty tough cut of meat with a lot of muscle. So, the only way to get them tender is slow cooking, preferably in a stew.
Sometimes you'll find various appellations for stew meat, such as beef chuck roasts, chuck steak, or braising steak. However, although stew meat and steak are taken from the sirloin and cow rump, stew meat is taken from older cows.
Adding sauce and seasoning to stew meat will make them taste better. You may add soy or Worcestershire sauce for that umami or savory flavor or some honey or brown sugar to make the stew beef sweet. Vinegar and lemon zest will make the stewed beef tenderize and get sweeter. For spice and depth, add some smoked paprika and chili powder.
There you go! Your old-fashioned stewed beef is ready. The secret to having tender meat is cooking in a slow cooker.
If I had to choose for you, I'd suggest going with the first recipe. However, the second recipe is new to many. Trust me, these stew recipes are foolproof and taste even better when reheated.