Close up of carrots and meat in stew.

Easy And Hearty Beef Stew For A Cozy Winter Family Meal

This easy to follow recipe calls for common ingredients.

Beef stew is one of my favorite things to cook from scratch when the weather gets colder. Not only does it warm up the kitchen with its long slow cook time, it is very satisfying and really fills you up!

I try to eat seasonally, which means that vegetables that are in season is what we are eating. Here in the Northeast there isn’t much growing in January so we rely on root vegetables that could be stored in a root cellar. Shopping at my local farmers market the vegetables available reflect that and include things like carrots, potatoes, parsnips, parsley root, sweet potatoes, apples, onions, shallots, garlic, etc. These are the foods I prefer to serve during the winter.

What Meat Can I use?

For years I have purchased stew meat at the grocery store and this is a good choice for this meal. It’s often already cubed for you so that is step you can skip and save time!

Now a days we are lucky enough to have venison in the freezer and don’t buy much red meat anymore. Venison makes delicious stew meat if processed and cured correctly. But not everyone has that option or likes the taste of venison. Any good quality red meat will work for this recipe. Maybe you have Bison meat? Bear meat? I have never tried it, but I am sure it would be great!

Can I Change The Vegetables?

Absolutely! Carrots, potatoes, parsnips, parsley root, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans. The choices are yours! Below are my favorite combinations.

When choosing carrots for this dish, I prefer to use big carrots that I can leave chunky when I cut them so they don’t get too soft when cooked in the stew. If you cannot find big carrots just cut them longer so that they are a little chunkier. I also prefer parsnips or parsley root to potatoes in stew. These hold up better and add a sweetness to the stew that potatoes do not.

Do I Really Need Wine?

Red wine is used to deglaze the bottom of the pan as this adds a depth of flavor that we enjoy. The wine should be on the dry side, not sweet. There is no alcohol left in the wine after the deglazing process, so you needed worry about that. However, If you don’t have wine available, or you prefer to not use it, you can certainly use beef broth.

What About Spices?

The only spices used in this recipe are salt, pepper and bay leaves. The bay leaves are important. Occasionally I have forgotten to add them and can really taste the difference.

Full Ingredient List

1 1/2 lbs. of stew meat

1/4 C flour

1/2 stick butter

2 Tbs Olive Oil

1 tsp each salt and pepper

3-4 Bay leaves

2 onions

3 cloves garlic

2 large carrots

3 parsnips

2 C dry red wine

2 C beef broth

Supplies Needed

A Dutch Oven or something similar

Cutting board and a good knife

Large wooden spoon

Step By Step Directions

Cubed stew meat

First cube the stew meat, if it isn’t already done. Then place it into a plastic bag with the flour, salt and pepper. Shake to coat each piece well. Then add the olive oil and butter to the Dutch oven and put on medium heat. Add the coated beef to the pot and brown all sides. When browned, remove meat from Dutch oven.

Next add the wine to the hot Dutch oven pot to deglaze. The pot will be coated with the flour and meat juices. Stir the wine while gently scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen. Once all the pieces have been scraped off, continue to simmer the wine to reduce.

Deglazing pot with red wing

Then add the onions and garlic to the pot with the reduced wine to cook down until translucent and fragrant. Add meat and chopped vegetables to the pot. Add the Bay leaves now also. Stir to combine.

Lastly, add two cups of beef broth. I prefer to use “Better Than Bouillon” brand soup base, but you can use any good quality broth. Mix well and place covered Dutch oven into preheated oven for about 2 hours. I start the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes and then reduce it to 275 degrees Fahrenheit for the remainder of the cook time. It’s done when the vegetables are tender. Serve with some crusty bread and enjoy!

Print Recipe Here:

Yield: 4-6 servings

Hearty Beef Stew

Hearty Beef Stew

This hearty beef stew is the perfect hot dinner for a cold Winter night. Chocked full of root vegetables it is filling and makes delicious left overs the next day.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb stew meat, cubed
  • 1/4 C flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 carrots, pealed and chopped
  • 3-4 parsnips pealed and chopped
  • 2 C red wine
  • 2 C beef broth
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp good quality salt

Instructions

  1. First you will need to cut up the roast beef into cubes, if it is not already done.
  2. Next place the cut beef into a plastic ziplock bag, or a bowl and add the flour, salt and pepper. Coat the beef with the flour and spice mixture on all sides.
  3. Next, heat up a heavy bottomed pot and add half a stick of butter and two tablespoons of olive oil. When the pot is hot add the beef and brown on all sides. * Note, you are not trying to cook the meat all the way through, just brown it well.
  4. Once the meat is browned, remove it from the pot.
  5. Add the 2 cups of red wine to deglaze the pot. Cook and gently scrape the bottom until all the flour and butter are worked off the bottom of. the pot. Continue to simmer until most of the wine has evaporated ( don’t worry there is no alcohol left at this point).
  6. Add the minced garlic and onions and cook until translucent.
  7. Add the beef back to the pot with the garlic and onions.
  8. Add the cut up carrots, parsnips and the bay leaf. Stir to combine.
  9. Add the 2 cups of beef broth. I use ”It’s Better Than Bouillon” beef base, but you can use premade broth or your own homemade broth.
  10. Place covered pot in oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 275 degrees and cook for an additional 90 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Check every 30 -40 minutes to make sure it isn’t drying out. If it is you can add water.
  11. Dish and serve! Make sure to remove any bay leaves prior to serving.

Notes

Substitutions:

Beef- you can substitute venison or any other red meat.

Parsnips- you can substitute potatoes or parsley root.

*A Dutch oven is the ideal vessel to cook stew in, however, any heavy covered pot will work.