Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes

beef stew

We had the best snow day last week…school was cancelled, work wasn’t happening and the only thing to do was hunker down in the house or go outside to play. With little kids, we didn’t have much choice, so we dug our saucers and sleds out of the garage, bundled up and invited friends over for a day of sledding. Not surprisingly, the boys (and I’m including husbands in this category) took charge of the fun, creating a luge-like course on a steep hill in our backyard and risking life and limb to see who could get to the bottom the fastest. When we finally came back inside, it was almost dark and everyone was starving. By chance, I’d made a big pot of this beef stew the day before so we warmed it up in the oven for an impromptu dinner party. Everyone agreed, it hit the spot.



Mike and kids-1

It’s a classic French beef stew, otherwise known as Beef Bourguignon. The meat is seared in olive oil first, then slowly braised with garlic and onions in a wine-based broth.  After a few hours in the oven, the meat becomes meltingly tender and enveloped in a rich, deeply flavored sauce.

Beef stew 8

It takes some time to make (about an hour of active cooking), but I promise you it’s well worth the effort. Aside from being delicious, it’s a one pot meal that feeds a crowd. You can also make it a day ahead—in fact, you should because the flavor improves the longer it sits.

Beef stew 1

The most important thing is to start with the right cut of meat. You want to buy chuck roast that is well-marbled—that means it should have a good amount of white veins of fat running through it. Stay away from meat generically packaged as “stew meat,” especially if it looks lean. As someone who has fed an entire pot of leathery stew to her dog, I can guarantee you it will not get tender, no matter how long you cook it.

Beef stew 2

The first step is to season the meat generously with salt and pepper and brown it in batches in a large, heavy pot. This caramelizes the meat, which adds depth and dimension to the stew.

Beef stew 3

Next, add the onions, garlic and balsamic vinegar to the pot. The vinegar will loosen all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and coat the onions and garlic.

Beef stew 15

Add the tomato paste, then toss the beef back into the pan with the flour. Pour the wine, stock, water and spices over the meat, then cover with a lid and braise in the oven for two hours.

Beef stew 10

Towards the end of cooking, add your carrots and potatoes (this prevents them from getting mushy)…

Beef stew 12

Cook an hour more, until the vegetables are cooked and the meat is almost falling apart.

Beef stew 13

Feel free to adapt the recipe to your liking. You can leave out the potatoes and serve it over buttered egg noodles, or toss in some frozen peas or sauteed mushrooms at the very end. Either way, serve it with a crusty bread to sop up all the sauce.

This is soul-satisfying comfort food for a cold night. Enjoy!

Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes

Print Recipe
Servings: 6
Total Time: 3 Hours 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds boneless beef chuck (well-marbled), cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth (I like the Pacific organic brand)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into one-inch chunks on a diagonal
  • 1 pound small white boiling potatoes (baby yukons), cut in half
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in middle.
  2. Pat beef dry and season salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Brown meat in 3 batches, turning with tongs, about 5-8 minutes per batch, adding one tablespoon more oil for each batch. (To sear meat properly, do not crowd the pan and let meat develop brown crust before turning with tongs.) Transfer meat to a large plate and set aside.
  3. Add onions, garlic and balsamic vinegar; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape brown bits from bottom of pan, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook a few minutes more. Add beef with juices back to pan and sprinkle with flour; stir with wooden spoon until flour is dissolved, 1-2 minutes. Add wine, beef broth, water, bay leaf, thyme, and sugar; stir with wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits from bottom of pan and bring to a boil. Cover pot with lid, transfer to preheated oven and braise for 2 hours.
  4. Remove pot from oven and add carrots and potatoes. Cover and place back in oven for 50-60 minutes more, or until vegetables are cooked and meat is very tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of sugar go a long way). Let cool, then store in refrigerator overnight or until ready to serve. This stew improves in flavor if made at least 1 day ahead. Reheat, covered, over medium heat or in a 350°F oven. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

 

 

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  • Judy

    How were the onions cut?

    • Jenn

      Hi Judy, They are cut into 1-inch chunks.

  • Manuela

    Could you please tell me from which part the beef chuck comes from, I can´t seem to find the right translation for it.

    • Jenn

      Hi Manuela, Chuck is the shoulder. Here’s a good diagram:
      link to stubbsbbq.com

    • Cindy

      I always have that problem as well. Where I live, none of the stores call anything “chuck” so I never know what it is :(

  • Manuela

    Hello Jenn!
    Thank you so much for the info.

    • Jenn

      You’re welcome!

  • diane

    Can I leave on the stove or does it need to be in the oven?

    • Jenn

      Hi Diane, You can definitely simmer it on the stovetop.

  • Kim

    Can you substitute the red wine for anything non-alcoholic?

    • Jenn

      Hi Kim, You could just use more beef stock or water instead. Or if you like a little more sweetness, you might try pomegranate juice or all natural grape juice.

  • Judy

    Ooh pomegranate juice sounds nice.

  • This is THE best beef stew recipe I have ever made!Thank you.My husband even had a bowl of it for breakfast. I find your recipes to be very good and have recommended your site to many friends. I wish for you lots of success in all your endevors.We are fans!

    • Jenn

      Thank you, Rose!

  • love your style

  • myra

    What can I use instead of the onions?

    • Jenn

      Hi Myra, You could use shallots instead of the onions.

  • liz

    I never comment on blogs or recipes. But this is seriously the *best* beef stew I’ve ever had.
    Wow.
    Now, I can’t wait to try other recipes from your blog. I am seriously impressed.
    The best part is, I just know my toddles are going to love it too.
    Thank you so much.

  • Ana

    Cooked this for dinner tonight and it is so delicious! I did not have to change anything! Its now stored in my bookmark under ” tried, tested and yummers! ” thank you so much.

  • Ponyo

    Husband said it was the best stew he ever had! I didn’t have potatoes so added mushrooms instead and it turned out great. I look forward to making this again!

  • Judy

    What’s the difference between onions and shallots? I’ve always steered away from them because they are so small to peel.

    • Jenn

      Hi Judy, Shallots are milder than onions. I typically use them in sauces and salad dressings.

  • Michael Lamont

    Beef Stew with Carrots and Potatoes is a quick & easy meal that I can make in my crock pot on a cold Winter’s day & have my whole apartment feel like I was back home with Mom & Dad growing up !

  • Bonnie Swackhammer

    Hi Jennifer , This is the best beef stew I have ever tasted, I usually make it from the packaged precut beef, but this was so tender I will never be able to go back to my old way of making beef stew! I added a few more vegi’s, parsnips, turnips and sweet potato. This was so good! ThankYou!

  • Julie

    This is the best beef stew recipe ever. I doubled the recipe and served it as an autumn supper for out of town guests. Everyone loved it and several asked for the recipe. Thanks Jen, I really love your recipes and detailed instructions!

  • Adrian

    A truly delicious meal, though I did make a few changes. To save time, instead of browning the meat I just cook the dish in the oven without a lid – this is a trick I learned from Cooks Illustrated and it worked well without sacrificing flavor. I also added Guiness and reduced at the end to intensify the flavor. Great basic recipe that is easy to modify.

  • Brandon Dinesman

    This recipe is time intensive, but definitely worth it. If I had one piece of advice for those who are going to make this, it is that ground beef chuck (which is still labeled as beef chuck) and regular beef chuck (which looks like regular strips of meat) are completely different. If you use the ifrst one, you’ll make a rather tasty, yet oily beef chili.

  • Elizabeth

    This is a wonderful recipe. It is a good cold weather comfort food that my family LOVES!!!

  • Simone

    Wonderful recipe, I used rice flour instead of all purpose flour to make it gluten free, came out perfect.

  • gloria

    this stew is the best looking i have ever seen .if it taste as good as it looks it must be awesome, which i believe it is.u have inspired me to make the recipe.thanks for sharing.

  • Rachelle

    We LOVED this recipe! Thank you so much for sharing! :)

  • Maureen

    I am cooking beef stew for 40 people. I just finished doing 18 lbs. of meat. My question can I cook the carrots and potatoes seperately and then add to the meat that I cooked and made the gravy?

    • Jenn

      Hi Maureen, Wow, that’s a lot of stew! Yes, it is absolutely fine to cook vegetables separately.

  • Natasha

    YUM!!I made this yesterday, so simple yet so flavorful and delicious.
    My variation…. I cooked it on the stove instead of the oven. I used a pressure cooker to speed up the process and added less wine, more stock. I added celery with the carrots. I used less potatoes and finished it off with some West Indian style dumpling at the end.

    This stew was amazing!!! thank you!

  • Yummmmm! Just made this last night. It was delicious.
    Thanks for the detailed recipe and above all pictures!
    Going to make your buttered rum recipe next.
    Bisou!

  • Bicky

    SOO Delicious!!! I have made this twice & nothing but rave reviews!!! It does require some effort, but the results are SOO worth it!!!

  • Michelle

    What would the directions be for cooking on the stove top and not using an oven?

    • Jenn

      Hi Michelle, Just simmer the covered pot on low heat and stir every so often so the bottom doesn’t burn. Should be the same cooking time.

  • Banessa

    How can I just make it on stove top

    • Jenn

      Just simmer the covered pot on low heat and stir every so often so the bottom doesn’t burn. The cooking time should be the same.

  • John

    Awesome recipe! I am making it for the second time today. Very simple but yet very different from what I have made in the past. The only question I had and I just winged it, was the braising part. Was not a 100% sure at what temp I should do that at (I may have missed it).

  • Mary

    Thank you for this recipe, the pictures and easy to follow instructions! It’s delicious! My husband said it is the BEST stew he has ever tasted!! (Thanks also for helping me win brownie points!) The only challenge I had was cutting the carrots at a diagonal so I cut them up in chunks instead, and then they didn’t soften, but I’ll try again next time! Thanks again!

  • John Dillon

    Made this a second time yesterday and my brother (this was a big compliment) loved it and wanted the recipe. He loved the broth, my dad loved it as well. 2 request for recipes. Nice job on the recipe, I wish I could take credit for it.

    • Jenn

      So glad you and your family liked the stew, John. You made it so you definitely get the credit :)

  • This recipe sounds delicious. The only problem is I’ve already bought 6lb of braising steak before I found the recipe. Could I use that instead of chuck roast?

    • Jenn

      Chuck is sometimes labeled as braising steak, so I’d say yes it is fine.

  • Christy

    I made today and it was excellent. I cut the carrots and potatoes in thinner slices and added 1.5 lb organic stew meat. Turned out perfect! After I added the vegetables, I kept in oven for 2 hours. It thickened up nicely. Thank you.

  • Donna

    Hi Jenn – Can’t wait to try this recipe. Can I substitute ketchup for the tomato paste?

    Thanks for all the great recipes!

    • Jenn

      Hi Donna, Yes, I don’t think it will make a big difference. Glad you’re enjoying the recipes!

  • OMG the beef stew was so good!!! my family loved it…

  • After preparing the beef stew, can it be frozen to share and give as a freezer meal?

    • Jenn

      Hi Karen, Absolutely!

  • Catherine

    I absolutely love this recipe. I made it this past weekend for a group of friends and they raved about the beef stew non-stop. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  • Sheri

    I just made your recipe for this tonight and it turned out fabulous. I added in maybe around a teaspoon and a half of truffle salt and saffron, and it really complimented the flavor nicely. I would use a wee less red wine next time, because it was such a rich stew. Otherwise, this was exceptional! Thank you for sharing.

  • Christine

    Hello! What red wine do you use? I can’t tell exactly from the picture.

    • Jenn

      Hi Christine, I believe that is Merlot in the photo but any red wine is fine.

  • Antonietta

    Dear Jenn,
    This is a truly delicious recipe – it is the best beef stew I have ever made! I usually use an enamelled cast iron dutch oven and am wondering how to adapt this recipe for a large slow cooker (7 quarts). Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Jenn

      Hi Antonietta, So glad you enjoyed the stew! To make it in a slow cooker, I’d still brown the meat first separately before adding it to the slow cooker with the other ingredients. It will probably need about 8 hours to cook but I’ve never tried it so can’t say for sure. Please let me know how it comes out.

  • Marissa

    Such a fantastic recipe. I’m 18 and wanted to cook something different for my dad and he loved it! Thank you!!! :)

  • Emese

    Now this is the closest to what we Hungarians call Gulyas!!!!

  • Mary Cook

    can you t me how to do this in a slow cooker?

    • Jenn

      Hi Mary, I’d advise making the recipe as directed for the best results but if you want to try it in a slow cooker, it will work. Just be sure to brown the meat before adding it to the slow cooker with the other ingredients. Cooking time should be about 8 hours but can’t say for sure since I’ve never tried it. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Denise

    Has anyone done this in a crockpot? Any suggestions would be great!

    • Denise

      I just saw the last comment! Never mind :)

  • Dee

    Made this the other night and it was EXCELLENT! Easy and better than my usual beef stew. This is now my go-to-recipe. Thanks!

  • michelle

    I was looking for a beef stew recipe and was inspired by all the comments, so I tried this one. It is absolutely DELICIOUS!! I made it exactly as posted. Thank you, Jenn! I’m happy I found your blog and very much look forward to trying more of your recipes. (PS Thank you for describing what type of meat to get. This has always baffled me.)

    • Jenn

      You’re welcome, Michelle. So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Rae

    Im so excited to try this!!

  • Lori

    Jenn, as per your suggestion, I simmered the stew on the stovetop. It came out great! My family loved it and the leftovers were even better. A loaf of french baguette helped to scoop up the gravy. This was a big hit and I will be making it again.

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