Beef Stew is one of my all-time favorite winter dinner recipes, but I am very picky when it comes to the type of beef stew I find tempting. I want big, super tender chunks of meat swimming with yukon gold potatoes and not too many carrots. The broth should be perfectly thick and without a strong tomato flavor. My recipe is everything that is great about beef stew…and if you must have peas in yours, then I guess you can toss them in at the end if you must!
Growing up, the beef stew in my bowl always came swimming in a broth loaded with big chunks of mushy tomatoes. Bleh….Sorry Mom, but to this day when I see a stew or soup loaded with cooked tomatoes, I can’t help but think of you 🙂 The only tomato you will find in my recipe is just a small blob of tomato paste to add a bit of sweetness without an in-your-face tomato flavor.
My recipe calls for a dutch oven and I really do prefer a cast iron enameled version. They do such an amazing job with braising, which is how you finish cooking the beef after browning it. If you don’t have one, here is my favorite enameled cast iron one that won’t break the budget! I’ve used this one for 6 years and it still looks brand new.
Now, let’s get down to the question that is going through your mind about now…..how did this go over with my kids? Except for the baby of the family, they all had second helpings. There were a few critical comments when I placed it on the table, especially since I didn’t have any of my beloved french bread to serve with it, but after tasting it, they loved it. This was especially phenomenal the second day so if you have the time, I would suggest giving it a day in the fridge for the flavors to really come together.
- 3 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 3 Tb oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 8 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 C balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 C red wine vinegar
- 1 Tb tomato paste
- 1/4 C flour
- 4 C beef broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced thick
- 1 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, peel and chopped
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Season the beef pieces well with the salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven pot, preheat 1 Tb of the oil over medium high heat. Once hot, brown 1/3 of the meat turning with tongs once a side has gotten golden brown, Don't rush this process or overcrowd the pan or you will steam your meat instead of browning it. That browning in the pan and on the meat gives you the great flavor. Once brown, remove to a large plate and repeat with the remaining two batches of meat with the remaining oil.
- Add the onions, garlic and balsamic and red wine vinegar. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste and cook for another minute before adding the beef with the juices on the plate. Sprinkle with flour and stir until the flour covers all the ingredients. Cook for one minute then add the beef broth, bay leaf, and thyme. Stir again, scraping anything off the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and transfer to the oven to braise for 2 hours.
- Remove pot from the oven and add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and put back in the oven for another hour before removing it from the oven. Taste the broth and add any additional salt and pepper needed. If you have the time, this stew is even better on the second day!