5 from 9 votes
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Hearty Beef Stew Recipe (Classic Comfort Food)

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Hearty Beef Stew is at the top of my list of classic comfort foods. This Classic Beef Stew features plenty of delicious, garden-fresh herbs and vegetables, so it is a great way to enjoy those savory treasures from your garden or the local farmers’ market.

Beef stew on a blue plate with a spoon on the side.

When I say that this is the best beef stew recipe, it is! It’s the ultimate way to fill your belly with comfort food that everyone will love to eat. If you crave a thicker stew, this is the recipe for you. The rich flavor will have you filling your bowl for more!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  1. This hearty beef stew is full of tender beef.
  2. It’s perfect for colder weather or any time of the year.
  3. It’s one of my favorite dinner recipes because there’s always some left for the next day.

Ingredients For Hearty Beef Stew

  • Extra virgin olive oil: A staple in this recipe, it’s used for browning the beef and sautéing the vegetables, imparting a subtle, fruity note to the base of the stew.
  • Garlic cloves: Essential for adding a savory depth of flavor, garlic works hand in hand with the herbs to create a robust backdrop to the dish.
  • Mushrooms: They soak up flavors like little sponges and add a meaty texture to the stew, complementing the beef wonderfully.
  • Beef stock: It serves as the liquid foundation, bringing a complex, rich flavor that intensifies the overall taste of the stew.
  • Sea salt and pepper: These seasonings are the simplest yet most crucial for enhancing and balancing all the flavors within the stew.
  • Beef stew meat: Opt for well-marbled cubes of meat that, when cooked slowly, become irresistibly tender and are the star of the show.
  • Dry red wine: A good glug of dry red wine will not only help tenderize the beef but will also add a luxurious depth and slight acidity to the sauce.
  • Bay leaf: A bay leaf infuses a subtle layer of earthiness and a hint of floral quality to the stew, removed before serving.
  • Carrots: Carrots are a hearty stew’s best friend because they provide natural sweetness and a delightful pop of color.
  • Celery stalks: Their fibrous crunch softens in the stew, and they offer a slightly bitter, aromatic counterpoint to the rich beef.
  • Yellow onion: This foundational ingredient delivers sweetness and a characteristic bite that mellows with cooking.
  • Russet potatoes: Their starchy quality helps to thicken the stew while giving it body and making it even more filling.
  • Fresh thyme leaves: With its subtle, slightly minty flavor, thyme complements the beef and root vegetables perfectly.
  • Oregano leaves: They bring a pungent, herbaceous note and a touch of the Mediterranean to the stew’s palatial assembly.
  • Rosemary leaves: Rosemary’s needle-like leaves provide a pine-like aroma and a sharp flavor, which enlivens the rich tapestry of the stew’s broth.

Substitutions and Variations

  • You can always add Worcestershire sauce to add flavor quickly. 
  • You can also up the number of bay leaves that you add to this classic beef stew recipe. 
  • If you want to add lots of flavors, you may want to change up the ingredients and try adding sweet potatoes, frozen peas, or other veggies to the soup pot.
  • If you prefer a more intense umami flavor, try adding a spoonful of tomato paste or a sprinkle of smoked paprika. Those who enjoy a bit of heat might enjoy a dash of cayenne pepper or diced jalapeños for a spicy kick.

How To Make Hearty Beef Stew

  1. Clean and prepare the vegetables. Leave potato skins on or peel them if you prefer.
  2. In a large deep pan over medium-high heat, cook olive oil, garlic, and mushrooms for about 5 minutes until mushrooms soften.
  3. If needed, brown the beef in batches in the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the beef and mushrooms to a bowl and set the skillet back on the stove.
  4. Add 1 cup beef stock and red wine to the skillet. Scrape up the cooked bits and boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Then, put the beef and mushrooms back in.
  5. Lower the heat and add 2 cups of beef broth and a bay leaf. Cover and cook for about 1 to 1.5 hours until the beef is tender. Stir once in a while.
  6. Mix in the carrots, celery, onion, potatoes, and herbs. If the mixture is too thick, add more beef stock.
  7. Cook without a cover for 20-25 minutes until the vegetables are soft but not overcooked. Remove the bay leaf. Add salt and pepper as you like. Serve hot.
A blue plate of beef stew.

Recipe Tips 

  • Sear the beef well: Don’t rush the browning of your beef cubes—searing them until they develop a good crust adds immense flavor to the stew.
  • Deglaze the pan thoroughly: After browning the beef, use the red wine and beef stock to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the flavorful bits to incorporate into the stew.
  • Go low and slow: Allowing the stew to simmer at a lower temperature will enable the flavors to meld together and the beef to become perfectly tender.
  • Cut vegetables uniformly: Make sure all your vegetables are roughly the same size to ensure they cook evenly.
  • Add delicate vegetables later: Ingredients like herbs or peas should be added toward the end of the cooking process to prevent them from becoming overcooked.
  • Adjust consistency with a slurry: If the stew is not as thick as you’d like by the end of cooking, mix a little flour or cornstarch with cold water and stir it in to thicken the stew.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning: Before serving, be sure to taste your stew and adjust the salt, pepper, and herbs to your liking.

Alternative Cooking Methods

This beef stew recipe is quite adaptable to various cooking methods. For those with an Instant Pot, you can enjoy the same rich flavors in a fraction of the time. Here’s how to adapt the recipe:

  1. Use the sauté function of the Instant Pot to brown the beef and sauté the mushrooms, garlic, and onions.
  2. Add the beef stock, red wine, and all remaining ingredients except the delicate vegetables, like peas, to the pot.
  3. Close the lid, set the valve to sealing, and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes.
  4. Once done, carefully quick-release the pressure and add any delicate vegetables.
  5. Cook on sauté mode for an additional few minutes until these vegetables are tender. 

This method retains the robust flavors of a traditional stew while significantly cutting down the cooking time, making it a perfect meal for busy evenings.

Storing Tips 

This great meal makes quite a bit, so you’ll have a little bit left for the next day. Just add the homemade beef stew recipe into an airtight container and store it in the fridge. You can reheat it on the stovetop in a large pot. You should eat within 2-3 days.

Beef stew freezes very well. Allow the stew to cool completely before transferring it into freezer-safe containers or bags. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw the stew in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat it on the stove until it’s warm throughout.

What To Serve With Hearty Beef Stew

A great side dish is a game changer. For a complete meal, consider adding one of these recipes.

Recipe FAQs

Does stew meat get more tender the longer you cook it?

If you want the cut of beef to get more tender, it may, the longer it cooks. To make beef stew meat tender, you can just keep it cooking for a little bit longer. As long as it’s submerged in liquid, you shouldn’t have to worry about it drying out.

How can I make the stew meat more tender quickly?

If you’re short on time but want to ensure tender meat, consider using a pressure cooker, which can significantly reduce the cooking time. Additionally, cutting the beef into smaller pieces can help it become tender more quickly when cooked.

What are the best cuts of beef for stew?

Tougher cuts of beef, such as chuck or round, that are well-suited to slow cooking are perfect for stew. These cuts are not only economical but also have connective tissues that break down during the cooking process, resulting in tender meat.

Is this beef stew gluten-free?

The basic recipe for beef stew is not gluten-free since it may require flour for thickening. However, you can use a gluten-free thickener like cornstarch or arrowroot powder in place of flour to make it gluten-free.

Can I make this stew in a slow cooker?

Absolutely! To make this stew in a slow cooker, brown the beef, garlic, onion, and mushrooms as instructed. Then, transfer them to the slow cooker and add all other ingredients except for delicate vegetables. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Add delicate vegetables during the last hour of cooking to avoid overcooking them.

Beef stew on a plate with a spoon.

Related Recipes

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Classic Beef Stew on a blue plate on the table.
5 from 9 votes

Hearty Beef Stew Recipe (Classic Comfort Food)


Author: Kim Schob
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
simmering 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Yields 8 Servings
This Classic Beef Stew features plenty of delicious, garden-fresh herbs and vegetables, so it is a great way to enjoy those savory treasures from your garden or the local farmers’ market.

Ingredients 

  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 3-4 cloves garlic fresh minced
  • 8 oz (226 ⅘ g) mushrooms white, sliced
  • 2 lbs (907 ⅕ g) beef stew cut into 1” cubes
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3-4 cup (720 g) beef stock divided*
  • 1 cup (240 g) red wine dry
  • 1 bay leaf whole
  • 3 carrots chopped
  • 2 celery stalks finely diced
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 lbs (907 ⅕ g) Russet potatoes chopped
  • 2 tps fresh thyme leaves rinsed
  • 2 tps fresh oregano leaves rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves chopped
  • *Use more or less beef stock to achieve the desired consistency

Instructions

  • Clean and prepare the vegetables. Leave potato skins on or peel them if you prefer.
  • In a large deep pan over medium-high heat, cook olive oil, garlic, and mushrooms for about 5 minutes until mushrooms soften.
  • If needed, brown the beef in batches in the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the beef and mushrooms to a bowl and set the skillet back on the stove.
  • Add 1 cup beef stock and red wine to the skillet. Scrape up the cooked bits and boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Then, put the beef and mushrooms back in.
  • Lower the heat and add 2 cups of beef broth and a bay leaf. Cover and cook for about 1 to 1.5 hours until the beef is tender. Stir once in a while.
  • Mix in the carrots, celery, onion, potatoes, and herbs. If the mixture is too thick, add more beef stock.
  • Cook without a cover for 20-25 minutes until the vegetables are soft but not overcooked. Remove the bay leaf. Add salt and pepper as you like. Serve hot.

Notes

  • Sear the beef well: Don’t rush the browning of your beef cubes—searing them until they develop a good crust adds immense flavor to the stew.
  • Deglaze the pan thoroughly: After browning the beef, use the red wine and beef stock to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the flavorful bits to incorporate into the stew.
  • Go low and slow: Allowing the stew to simmer at a lower temperature will enable the flavors to meld together and the beef to become perfectly tender.
  • Cut vegetables uniformly: Make sure all your vegetables are roughly the same size to ensure they cook evenly.
  • Add delicate vegetables later: Ingredients like herbs or peas should be added toward the end of the cooking process to prevent them from becoming overcooked.
  • Adjust consistency with a slurry: If the stew is not as thick as you’d like by the end of cooking, mix a little flour or cornstarch with cold water and stir it in to thicken the stew.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning: Before serving, be sure to taste your stew and adjust the salt, pepper, and herbs to your liking.
 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 342kcal (17%) Carbohydrates: 28g (9%) Protein: 31g (62%) Fat: 10g (15%) Saturated Fat: 3g (19%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 70mg (23%) Sodium: 275mg (12%) Potassium: 1285mg (37%) Fiber: 3g (13%) Sugar: 4g (4%) Vitamin A: 3893IU (78%) Vitamin C: 11mg (13%) Vitamin D: 1µg (7%) Calcium: 69mg (7%) Iron: 4mg (22%)

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love the herbs & veggies in this classic dish. I also love when one dish can turn into an entire meal! So good!

    1. 5 stars
      Thank you! Yeah, you could wait for the weather, but why? Lol, I hope you enjoy it. Thank you for coming by, Mini!

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