Basic Beef Stew
The vegetables recommended here are just a suggestion. You could use sweet potato, parsnip, rutabaga, or even celery root for a different flavor.
INGREDIENTS | SERVES 6-8
2–4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2½ pounds beef chuck, cut into 2“ cubes
Pinch salt, plus 2 teaspoons
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
10 cups beef or chicken broth
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
4 medium red potatoes, cut into large cubes
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2“ pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into 2“ pieces
1 can whole, peeled tomatoes
3 tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
Place a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once it's heated, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Season the meat with a pinch of salt and pepper and add one layer to the pan. Cook for about 8 minutes turning so all of the beef is browned. Remove and set aside. Repeat with the rest of the beef, adding more oil as necessary.
Add the butter. Once it has melted, add the onion and stir frequently for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
Return the beef to the pan and stir until it is coated evenly. Sprinkle the flour over the beef. Stir and cook for 4 minutes.
Add the broth and simmer. Add the thyme, bay leaves, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1½ hours. Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, and tomatoes. Cook for 1 hour. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Stir in the vinegar. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.
Beef Stew Meat Isn't the Best for Stew
Meat labeled “beef stew meat” tends to be small, odd-shaped pieces from different cuts. They're apt to have fat and sinew that requires trimming, and will not cook uniformly. Chuck comes from the shoulder of the cow. It is a flavorful but tough cut that is best when braised, as in stew.