The weather has been chilly (and rainy, and windy, etc. etc.), and that means stew in our household. I have made beef stew too many times to count, but had never actually written a recipe for it before so I figured today was the day!
It’s always interesting creating a recipe for something that you know how to make in your sleep – I have never measured any of the ingredients for my stew, I just add what looks (or smells) like the right amount. The recipe has evolved over the years, as I have gained culinary knowledge and skill, but has essentially remained the same for over a decade.
I take the time to sear the meat correctly now – this was a step I ignored for many years and have found out that it is essential to making great beef taste FANTASTIC. The secret is that you really do need to dry your meat before searing it over a high heat – it sears more quickly and leaves a delicious fond (the dark brown bits of meat left on the bottom of the pan) to season your dish as it cooks. I used the local Bennett Farms grass-fed stew meat (in packs in the frozen meat section, and you can also buy it direct from the ranch in Everson) because it is the best tasting beef I have had since I was a kid and we “grew our own”. The higher the quality of meat you use in your stew, the better it will taste, so I urge you to splurge on the good stuff!
Simple Beef Stew
- ~1 # Stew meat, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 T butter or oil
- 4 c water
- 1 ½ cubes vegetable bouillon
- 2 whole bay leaves
- ~½ t sea salt (Step 5—amount will depend on how salty your bouillon is — if you get a salt free version you may want to add a little more salt than recommended)
- 2 largish Yukon potatoes, cut into ½” cubes
- 2 large carrots, sliced in varying thicknesses
- 3/4—1 c frozen corn
- 2-3 T flour *
- Salt and pepper to taste
*if you are making this gluten-free, add 1 T cornstarch to the flour
- Onions, fresh garlic
- Pat stew meat dry with paper towels and place in bowl; season with salt and pepper.
- Heat large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat. Heat butter or oil; add seasoned stew meat, making sure to not crowd the pieces in the pot. Sear meat on twos ides (do this in small batches).
- Once all the meat has been browned, add 4 c water to the beef in the pot. Add bouillon cubes and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
- Once water is simmering, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1 ½ – 2 hours.
- When meat is almost done simmering, start prepping your potatoes and carrots. Remove the lid from the pot and increase heat. Add cubed potatoes and sliced carrots and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for at least 20 minutes (30-45 minutes is best). Taste the broth to see if you need to add salt/pepper.
- Remove lid and add frozen corn. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for at least 15 minutes.
- Remove lid and increase heat. Mix 2 T flour (and cornstarch if making GF) and just enough water to cover it in a jar with a lid. Pour it into the stew, and stir for about a minute. If stew doesn’t thicken as much as you would like, add another T of flour (mixed with a little more water).
- Remove from heat, remove the bay leaves, and serve with biscuits/rolls (GF or otherwise!)
Sassy Sampler notes:
- You can add onion and fresh garlic to the recipe if you desire. Add these ingredients when you add the potatoes and carrots. You can also substitute frozen peas for the frozen corn, or add both!
- This stew (as are most stews) is much richer the second day.
- I recommend Rapunzel vegetable bouillon and the local Bennett Farms (frozen) stew meat. They combine for fantastic flavor.
- You can make the stew in about two hours if you observe the minimum cook times.
- I like to cut the carrots in varying thicknesses so some of them liquefy into the stew, but you are also left with nice chunks.
- It is important to dry your pieces of meat so they sear correctly. If your meat is too moist, it won’t sear properly. It is worth it to take the time to complete this step.
Simple Beef Stew PDF