Seeking Your Best Recipe for Beef Stew
- Wtg2Retire Jan 28, 2013 02:37 PM
I have made beef stew for years, but it has never been my favorite. My granddaughter has now moved in with me and loves beef stew (but not mine). Therefore, I am seeking your very best beef stew recipes in the hopes that I can make beef stews that will be good for both of us.
I made this
Catalan-Style Beef Stew last night and it was terrific. There's a long cooking time for the onions but you save the time of browning the meat on the stove top so it almost evens out. Served it with boiled potatoes, though I think either mashed potatoes or rice would be even better. http://madeleinesmadeleines.bangordai...
This is an old Roy de Groot recipie from Feast for All Seasons cookbook, now out of print, so I think it's ok to share it. It is for Greek Beef Stefado. The recipe is for 8 and you may halve it or freeze 1/2 of it before you add the feta cheese and pecans. It calls for top round of beef, 4 lbs, cut into 1 inch cubes, 4 lbs of small white boiling onions peeled, 1/2 pound of shelled pecans, 1/2 lb of feta cheese (cut into cubes), 1 can (2 lb 3 oz) of italian peeled and seeded plum tomatoes, 6 cloves garlic, 3 or 4 cloves, 3 bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste, i can tomato paste, two cups of red wine, 3 tablespoons of tarragon white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
Mix 2 cups of the canned tomatoes, 6 ounces of tomato paste, 3/4 cup of red wine, 2 tblspoons of vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, in food processor till blended.
Using a cast iron cocotte or dutch oven that can go from the top of the stove to the oven, Brown the room-temperature beef in olive oil in the cocotte, remove to bowl. Brown the onions and add each batch to the browned meat. Reduce the heat under the cocotte and add the meat and onion back in the pot, with crumbled bay leaves and crushed garlic cloves. Add the blended tomatoe sauce. As soon as the pot bubbles, turn the heat down to low simmer level, cover, and simmer approximately 3 hours. Heat must be low and you can add additional blended tomato/wine sauce if it appears to be drying. The sauce should be quite thick. The dish can be made ahead until this step and finished as follows. Heat oven to 350. Thirty minutes before serving, blend shelled whole pecans into stew with a wooden spoon and put in oven. 10 minutes before serving, stir in feta cheese. Serve over ourzo, rice, or small pasta
Browning is REALLY important. Fling anything near you into a hot pan (except perhaps offspring and pets), brown it and add it to your stew. I'm thinking carrots, onions, leeks, mushrooms, garlic.
And don't be shy about salt. Tomato paste can add a lot of savory flavor, and many of us add a bit of fish sauce (equally salty but loaded with umami) quietly when no one is looking.
Let us know how things turn out.
Mine's about as basic as it gets, but we like it simple (and just finished a big pot of it the other night). :)
Trim the stew meat of all fat, silver-skin and gristle-y bits. I cut it up to about 1 inch squares--you may chose to make biger pieces or smaller, but the cooking time will change. Heat up enough oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan. Flour your meat and give it a good, dark browning all over without burning the flour residue in the pan. Don't overcrowd the pan--you don't want to lower the heat too much and have it stewing away (yet).
When the meat's all done, it goes into a heavy, enameled cast iron pot (like a Le Creuset, but less pricey). Add flour to the oil in the pan and brown it, cooking it for a minute. Add sufficient hot water all at once (to prevent lumps) to make enough gravy to cover the meat. Let it bubble away for a minute. Pour it over the meat. Add salt, pepper, and finely chopped onion to taste. I also throw in a bay leaf or two, depending on size. Reduce the heat and let that do a slow bubble for about 3 hours.
Once the meat is fall-apart-tender, peel and cut up your carrots and potatoes and chuck them in. If you don't think there's enough gravy to give everything a good dampening, remove the meat and set aside while the veggies cook. Once the veg is done to your liking, fish out the bay leaves (if you didn't remove them when you took out the meat) and taste. Adjust the seasoning. Add your meat back in if you removed it and get it all reheated. Serve it up with crusty bread--I'll have butter on mine. :)
re: C. Hamster
Good to know. I've been giving my children my beef stew with wine in it since they were little and they've had no ill effects. When serving teetotalers and recovering alcholics, I always warn them about any wine in the food, but I've never had anyone turn it down because of that.
I think the problem with my stew is that is just doesn't have much flavor. It does have carrots, potatoes, and onions, but the gravy seems very thin and flavorless. I love mushrooms, but my granddaughter does not, so if you want to post a recipe with mushrooms that will be fine - I will just leave them out.
More wine, more herbs, more paprika, more garlic. Toss in a couple of tablespoons of Montreal Steak Seasoning. Brown your meat well.
But stew flavor is a deep rich subtle flavor, it's not going to slap you in the face like Mexican or Thai.
Thin gravy is easy to fix, just thicken it using flour or cornstarch, I even know one 'lazy cook' who dumps a can of cream of mushroom soup in to thicken his stew. In your case maybe cream of broccoli or asparagus. (I can hear chowhounds gasping in shock and disgust.)
I made stew earlier this week and a friend wanted to know what I put in it, here is what I sent him (the instructions are for someone who doesn't cook much) :
I learned to make this from my mom and my grandmother, and they from my grandmother's mother. I've modified it a bit over the years as well. There are only two rules for this, one is that there is no tomato. The second is that there is always paprika. This recipe is for a large crock pot.
4-6 pounds chuck roast cut into bite sized pieces, trim excess fat.
2-4 tablespoons bacon fat or butter
1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced or chopped
1 bag frozen pearl onions
4 celery stalks sliced thin and/or 1-2 chopped green bell peppers
1 bottle red wine (pinot noir, zinfandel, not cabernet)
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped or left whole
3 tablespoons 'better than bouillon" (chicken or vegetable)
2-4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons herbs of choice (fines herbs works ok)
2-4 dashes Worchesteshire sauce
1-2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
3-5 pounds baby wax potatoes (red, purple, mixed, whatever)
Water to cover ingredients
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flour for thickening after skimming fat
1 pound baby carrots or regular carrots chopped into pieces
In a large skillet brown the beef in the oil or fat in at least two batches, do not crowd pan or meat will steam instead of sear. Don't burn the meat, but you want a nice dark color, not just barely browned. Remove beef to crock pot or dutch oven. Repeat until all meat is cooked. If liquid collects in the pan, pour it off into the crock pot.
Brown sliced onion and celery or green peppers in a similar way, and add to crock pot.
Add red wine and turn crock pot to high. Add remaining ingredients except for carrots, salt, pepper and flour. Add water to just cover the intredients and mix everything once and cover pot. Leave crock pot on high for about 2 hours or low for 4 hours, enough time to bring it up to temperature and cook the potatoes.
For the herbs you can use pre-packaged 'fine herbs', or your choice of things like parsley, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, basil. I don't usually use 'italian herbs' for this as the oregano tends to overpower.
Once the potatoes have cooked (test one with a fork) skim fat from surface of the liquid.
Salt and pepper to taste, possibly adjust remaining seasonings.
Mix flour with enough water to form a paste and mix until lumps are gone, add a bit more water to thin it enough to pour and add to hot liquid in pot.
Turn crock pot to 'warm' setting and add carrots. Carrots may be added earlier, but they tend to overcook. Cover and Allow to simmer for as long as 24 hours.
A few tips:
1) Marinate your cubed beef in a combination of soy sauce, garlic and pepper and maybe a touch of lemon (so long as you are not deglazing your pan with wine). You will add savoriness to the stew and help along caramelization when you brown your beef.
2) Slow cook the onions until reddish brown. Caramelize the tomato paste towards the end of cooking the onions if you are using it.
3) A couple cloves add character to the braising liquid.
3) Finish the sauce by whisking beurre manié into the liquid and cooking until the sauce is thickened and glossy.
Good tips above.
Here's my basic recipe -
Flour, salt and pepper your meat, brown on all sides in some oil, and take it out. If the pot is dry when you pull the meat, deglaze with a little wine.
Saute diced onion, celery, carrot until just softened. Add garlic, salt, pepper, herbs, bay leaves - saute a minute more.
Add the meat back, add equal parts wine, water, stock (in any combination).
Simmer low and slow for as long as you can, until you start to get that rich gravy and you can starting breaking up the meat with a fork.
If you want potatoes, carrots, any other veggies, throw those in once you start to get that gravy.
Not getting the gravy? Cook it longer, without the lid, until it reduces.
Can also add:
Tomato paste as a thickener
Flour / corn starch as mentioned above
A parmesan rind at the add-back stage
If you want to go crazy, through in a couple of anchovies or a few chili flakes before the sauteed veggies.
That's what I do anyway.
re: Bob Dobalina
Searing meat never really "seals in the juices." The sound of the meat sizzling in the pan is the sound of moisture loss in hot oil. Too much flour can even prevent the meat itself from browning, which prevents the Maillard reaction often mistaken as a moisture lock. Dredging meat in a light coating of seasoned flour, however, does create a flavorsome crust and contributes to thickening the braising liquid in the end.
This is a simpler beef and Guinness stew recipe.
for which I have a great affection since it saved my life one day.
This is a beef with cranberries recipe that tastes a bit like sauerbraten: http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...
For reasons I can't explain, I've always made it with cut up stew beef, which takes some adjustments in timing, but nothing else.
I really am interested to make beef stew especially as I've been craving anything warm and cozy recently and it's a childhood favorite that I just haven't had in a long time as it's only 2 of us so it extends for a while. Is there a good way to store beef stew? Can you divvy it up into individual servings and freeze or would that affect the quality of the potatoes too much?
Here's an oven version using canned soups.
Five Hour Beef Stew
Oven 275 degrees F. - 5 hours
2 pounds cubed beef
2 large potatoes, sliced
8 - 9 oz. package frozen peas or green beans (I prefer green beans)
1 can (10 oz?) tomato soup (I prefer 16 oz can diced tomatoes)
1 can cream of mushrooom or cream of celery soup
1 soup can water
1 cup sliced carrots (I just use 8 oz baby-cut carrots)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Bay leaf, or 1 teaspoon paprika (or I prefer 1 T. oregano)
2 small onions, chopped
Combine all ingredients (do not brown meat) in a casserole or small roasting pan. Cover.
Bake 5 hours at 275 degrees.
Two cans of soup turn this into a very thick soup, not a stew, in my opinion. Browning the meat,one way or another, is key. You also needs to decide what kind of flavor you want--garlic is great, some folks like smoked paprika, I generally start the whole dish with a couple slices of bacon chopped and browned--but to just dump everything in a pot and call it stew is not going to give you the deep, rich flavor that a great stew can provide.
If deep, rich flavor is the dividing line between thick soup and stew, this is still stew. Did you actually try this recipe before judging it "not stew"? One of my pet peeves is recipe commenters who have either never made the dish or so substantially altered the ingredients and prep that they are "reviewing" something else entirely.
A faster oven version
Beef Stew – easy oven version
1 1/4 hours, 375 degrees.
A very easy, relatively quick non-soupy version.
1 1/4 lbs. beef stew meat (already cubed)
1/4 cup A1 steak sauce
1 1/2 medium onions, cut into chunks
8 oz. raw baby carrots, cut in half to form chunks
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, wash, trim stems, cut in half
8 oz. frozen green beans, thawed (1-2 minutes in microwave)
Spray small roaster pan with vegetable spray. Place meat in pan first (no need to brown), add steak sauce (no other spices needed), add remaining ingredients. Cover. Bake 375 degrees F. about 1 1/4 hours. Serve with warmed dinner rolls or garlic bread. 4- 6 Servings.
If you want to start adding various unusual ingredients this one with artichokes is wonderful
Ronald Regan Truckadero Beef Stew
Serves 6 - Stovetop 1 1/2 hours, then Bake 400 degrees, 15-20 minutes.
And this one with fruit reads as odd but is delicious. You're peeling/dicing/adding the next ingredient to the pot pretty much the entire time, though. If you're fast, note that the potatoes need to cook at least an hour, so you make get a rest towards the end.
Harvest Day Beef with Fruit Stew
Bon Appetit (September 1986
And you may learn that (like my spouse & I) one of you likes and the other doesn't care for Bay Leaf in your beef stew. While I've compromised and changed to use oregano, I still miss that destinctive Bay Leaf scent as the stew cooks.
brown meat well.
no tomato or tomato products
no peas, corn, beans
lots of red wine, up to half the liquid - nothing too oaky
sweet hungarian paprika
waxy potatoes rather than mealy (no russets)
simmer on very low heat for a long time, overnight is good.
I'm nota lover of stew,but I do like this one a lot.
GREEK BEEF STEW Serves six
Junior League of New York Cookbook
3 lbs. lean beef stew meat salt and pepper
1/2 c. butter 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar 1 bay leaf 1/2 tsp. whole cloves 1/4 tsp. ground cumin Salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 1/2 lbs. sm. onions, peeled 1/3 c. red table wine 1 tbsp. brown sugar 1 sm. cinnamon stick 1 clove garlic, minced or mashed ½ cup raisins
Season meat with salt and pepper. Melt butter in Dutch oven or heavy kettle with cover. Add meat and coat with butter. Do not brown. Arrange onions over meat. Mix next 5 ingredients and pour over meat and onions. Add remaining ingredients. Cover onions with plate (to hold them in tact). Cover kettle and simmer 3 hours, or until meat is very tender (do not stir). Skim off fat and stir sauce gently just before serving.
I wing it with stews so I'm not much help except for one thing: big fluffy, light, airy dumplings.
Mix about 1 1/2c ap flour with 1/2 c corn meal. Season dry mixture with whatever herbs sound best at the moment (i've done everything from jalapenos and cilantro to garlic/onion powder and chives and on and on) and salt and pepper to taste (I use probably just shy of 1/4tsp salt). Stir in roughly 1/2 c grated cheese (again, whatever suits your palate at the moment, but good cheddar always works. Add a slightly heaping teaspoon of baking powder, 2 T oil or butter, and enough milk - probably 1/2 to 3/4cup milk to make a thick to very thick batter (to very, very, very sticky dough). Drop by heaping (and I mean heaping - this recipe should yield 6-7 big dumplings) tablespoons into bubbling stew, cover and cook for 12-14 minutes without lifting the lid.
Some variations - use up the rest of any bisquik type biscuit mix in lieu of the flour, oil and baking powder - just toss some cornmeal in - it helps to achieve that light and fluffy (versus heavy and slimy) texture.
I've also used sour cream in lieu of milk and fat, and that was amazing. The trick just seems to be getting the batter consistency right - not so thin as pancake, not so thick as to really be a dough.
I don't always use a recipe, but I do certain things the same way every time and people love my beef stew.
First throw some flour in a plastic zip loc bag (maybe 1/3 cup), then throw in some rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, salt and a lot of black pepper) Shake. Throw in your cubes of meat (I use about 2 1/2 lbs and cut them about 1 1/2 inches to get lots of surface area). Shake. In batches, brown the meat in some oil. Do not skip this step. It is not negotiable. You need the flour to thicken the stew and the browning in oil to flavor it.
Remove the meat to a bowl as each batch is finished. Add more oil to the pot, then throw in a couple of carrots, cut into chunks, and a couple of stalks of celery, also cut into chunks, and one large yellow onion, cut into chunks. Cook until beginning to brown.
Leaving veggies in the pot, deglaze with maybe 1/2 cup red wine, stirring well to bring up browned bits. Pour the meat with its juices back into the pot and add maybe a tsp of red wine vinegar and a tbsp or so of worcestershire sauce. Add enough good beef broth (Pacific is what I use) to bring the liquid to the level of the meat, give it a good stir and put the lid on the pot. Simmer on low heat for about 2.5 hours. A half hour before serving, peel and add one or two potatoes. Serve with a lot of bread to sop up the very flavorful juices.
My recipe is similar to many on here with a few added ingredients:
1. Flour the beef and brown in a large pot on the stove top in a little olive oil
2. Remove beef, add little more oil, cook chopped onion and garlic, salt and pepper
3. Stir in a can of stewed tomatoes, add back beef
4. Add in chopped carrots, celery, potatoes, frozen pearl onions, fresh parsley, can also add sweet potato or frozen peas.
5. Add water to cover, add a bay leaf, cinnamon stick, dried oregano, dried rosemary, more salt and pepper, herbe de provence
6. Simmer at least until veggies are very soft. Give a good stir, some of the potatoes will break up and add thickness to the stew.
7. Serve topped with grated parmesean.
We have decided the first one to try will be the Mahogany Beef stew this weekend. Will let you know how we liked it.
re: c oliver
Oh certainly... I will say, I have gotten requests in advance for it when people come over. It's a 2 day process to let it really "percolate", so to speak. I love it! I found it on applesandonion.com and I modify it to my tastes. I often use a super-chuck type boneless stewing meat when i am serving more people, or b/c as my butcher says, " why pay for bones?". All depending on what you like, and what's available to you but the flavor is AMAZING!! I don't bother with the sieve part for the sauce, I just skim the fat after the fridge. It's less messy. I serve over baby bok choy, or broccoli depending on who's coming over. :)
Soy-Ginger Glazed Shortribs
6 beef short ribs or about 4lbs of short ribs
1 onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1-½ inch knob of ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
⅓ cup mirin
⅓ cup soy sauce (low- sodium)
¼ cup brown sugar
4 cups beef stock
pinch of red pepper flakes
6 springs fresh cilantro
Note: this recipe calls for cooking the ribs the day before your party. To do in one day, cook your ribs in the morning so you have time to cool and strain the sauce before serving.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
In a deep, heavy-bottomed pot (Dutch ovens work beautifully) over medium-high heat, sear the beef in batches until golden brown on all sides. Set browned ribs aside on a platter.
Add the vegetables (onion through garlic) to the pot with the heat on medium and saute until just soft, about 5 minutes. Add the liquids and brown sugar (mirin through stock) to deglaze the pan and bring to a boil. Add red pepper flakes and cilantro.
Add the beef back to the liquid and cover with a lid. Place in 325 degree oven for 2.5-3 hours. Allow to cool completely and then store in fridge overnight.
Next day remove the ribs from the pan and strain the sauce through a fine sieve to catch any congealed fat. Place the ribs and sauce back in the pot and boil on high, uncovered, until the ribs are warmed through and the sauce is reduced to a shiny glaze, about 5-10 minutes.
Serve over white rice tossed with chopped fresh cilantro!!!
Hungarian "porkolt" is about as tasty and simple a stew as you will find:
- 2 lbs of beef cut in 1-inch cubes
- 1 cooking onion chopped very fine - hand chopped, not through a processor
- 1 tbs lard or bacon drippings
- 1 heaping tbs of sweet paprika, preferably Hungarian
- 2 cloves or to taste of garlic minced
- salt to taste
- a few peppercorns bruised in your palm
- Heat the fat in a large pot.
- Add the chopped onions and sauté on medium heat until they begin to wilt and turn translucent
- Add the paprika and give a quick stir to incorporate it with the onions
- Then immediately add the beef and stir everything until the beef is browned and covered with the onion/paprika mixture - about a minute or two. You want the paprika to bloom, but not burn
- add enough water to barely cover the beef
- bring to a boil and then back to slow simmer
- add the peppercorns and garlic
- let simmer for about 10 minutes and then add and adjust salt
- let simmer until the beef is cooked, about 1 hour
I've taken to getting to the last stage where the seasoning is adjusted and then putting the lid on and finishing long and slow in the oven at 225*F.
Can't post it here, but am very fond of Charlie Trotter's from his Home Cooking book. Like others, it is finished in the oven.