Take your stew from mediocre to spectacular! Get a chuck roast, a stout beer, and a smidgeon of tomato paste ready to sear.
For me, beef stew is the perfect comfort food, not just because of its rich flavor and juicy texture. As a working parent, I appreciate the ease of a quick beef stew. Convenience, indeed. Cooking stew takes a few hours but bears with me. The stew is boiling most of the time while I do my thing. Stew is a filling dish that can serve a large group. It’s a one-pot meal (hello, quick cleanup). Best of all, I can make it ahead of time, and it tastes much better the next day after the flavors have melded. It also freezes beautifully.
I’m very grateful for planning for days I know will be stressful. I reheat my amazing homemade beef stew and possibly add bread or salad. Dinner is an inevitable conclusion!
How to make the best beef stew
Follow these simple steps to prepare the best beef stew.
1. Prep the ingredients
Taking the time before cooking to gather and prepare the ingredients will make the procedure run more efficiently.
Chop a yellow onion, cut carrots and potatoes into 1/2- to 1-inch chunks, and cut a boneless chuck roast into 1- to 2-inch cubes. Measure out a couple of teaspoons of tomato paste, soy sauce, beef broth (beef stock), cornstarch, and dark beer while at it.
2. Brown the boneless chuck roast and veggies
Browning the meat and vegetables is not my only secret to making the best beef stew, but it is essential. All those caramelized bits on the bottom of the Dutch oven have a similar taste.
I heat my Dutch oven over medium-high heat and drizzle it with vegetable oil. After seasoning it with salt and black pepper, I sear the stew meat in batches — crowding the heart could cause it to simmer rather than brown. Then I remove the pan’s root and add the yellow onion to the pan drippings. The onion’s inherent sugars provide another layer of flavor to the caramelized bits. Finally, I add the tomato paste to the pan and cook it until it browns.
3. Don’t forget to deglaze the pan
After the beef, onion, and tomato paste have browned and formed a lovely crust in the pan, I add dark beer (or red wine if you prefer) and beef broth, scraping out any browned parts with a wooden spoon. As the stew simmers over low heat, the pieces dissolve in the broth and offer an extra punch of flavor. This is a critical stage that should be noticed.
4. Simmer until tender
Allow the beef to simmer until it begins to tenderize, about 1 1/2 hours. Then add the vegetables and cook until a fork or knife comes out clean. Finally, thicken the stew with cornstarch mixed with water for a smooth, rich mouthfeel.
Homemade beef stew Q&A
Start here if you’re wondering how to elevate your favorite comfort food recipe.
How to make beef stew on the stovetop: equipment
Making stovetop beef stew is simple (this is my preferred way). You’ll need a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, another large pot, and tongs to stir the steak as it sears. Finally, a wooden spoon is required to scrap the browned parts from the pan’s bottom.
Can beef stew be created in a slow cooker or an Instant Pot?
Yes! You can use your Crock Pot or Instant Pot to create beef stew; the total cooking time will differ from the stovetop approach. Sear the meat first, as that brown crust is vital for deep taste. Brown the stew meat in a Dutch oven before adding it to the Crock Pot with the other ingredients if using a slow cooker. Begin by browning the steak on the sear setting in an Instant Pot.
What is the best meat for beef stew?
Chuck roast (also known as pot roast) is a favorite of mine. It has good marbling, which results in delicate slices of beef when cooked. Although a leaner cut of meat can be used, the ultimate product may be less tender.
Is the meat cooked before creating beef stew?
Brown the beef before adding the beef broth, vegetables, and other ingredients. Browning will generate the rich taste that we seek in the most incredible beef stew recipes.
How do you prepare soft beef stew meat?
I use chuck roast because the fat in the meat breaks down, resulting in the most tender bite. But the most important secret is patience. Allow plenty of time for the heart to cook until it is soft enough to be pierced with a fork.
What vegetables go into a beef stew?
Carrots and potatoes are my favorites of mine. Change it up by adding a couple of stalks, celery, and garlic cloves. Just before serving, stir in thawed frozen peas. Alternatively, serve the stew over mashed potatoes instead of boiling potatoes in the hash.
What spices are required for beef stew?
Of course, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper are essential. I also add tomato paste, soy sauce, and fresh parsley to accentuate the natural umami flavor. I’ve also cooked beef stew using bay leaves and Worcestershire sauce.
In addition to beef broth, I enjoy the malty taste of a heavy beer like Guinness with the meat. However, you can substitute red wine in my recipe if you wish.
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