Beef Stew is the kind of meal you want to come home to. A pot of it bubbling on the stove, filled with charred chunks of fork-tender beef, roasted potatoes, sweet carrots, a touch of onion and garlic, surrounded by a sauce that is clean but complex. This is the winter dinner I want on a weekly basis.
Beef Stew isn’t difficult, but it is easy to produce unimpressive beef stew. The trick to amping up the flavor is to treat each component as a singular item, and then combine them all at the end.
For my version of Beef Stew, the vegetables are roasted in the oven, the beef is seared on the stove top, and the sauce is mixed in the same pot used to sear the beef. As a result, the vegetable flavor is concentrated, the beef is covered in flavor-fueled crust, and the sauce is built on a foundation of all the goodness left behind from the browning.
My single piece of advice for killer beef stew is to make it in advance and allow it to sit overnight. You can do this up to three days before you plan to eat it, and I know it is tempting to dive in the same day you cook the stew, but trust me. The flavor magic that happens with an overnight rest in the fridge is well worth the wait.
Looking for an excellent side kick to Beef Stew? Buttermilk Cornbread is the wing man your Beef Stew needs.
- 8 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 2 pounds potatoes, unpeeled, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 pound carrots, unpeeled, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 large onion, chopped
- Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds chuck stew meat, cut into approximately 1-inch cubes
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 8 cups beef broth
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- On two sheet trays, evenly divide the potatoes, carrots, and onion. Onto each sheet tray, add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Use your hands to combine everything together on each tray.
- Roast the vegetables in the oven until the potatoes are brown and cooked through and the carrots and onions are fully roasted as well. This will take between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on your oven. Toss the vegetables after 20 minutes and keep an eye on them. You want them to be browned and fully cooked through, but not burnt.
- Meanwhile, line a sheet tray or large plate with paper towels. Put the stew meat onto the paper towels. Using additional paper towels, pat the meat dry. Discard all the towels, leaving the meat on the tray. Sprinkle the meat with 2 teaspoons Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
- Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pan over medium-high heat until very hot, but not smoking. Place approximately one quarter of the stew meat into the pot. It should sizzle when it hits the oil. DO NOT MOVE THE MEAT. Allow it to sear for three minutes. Once the meat is sufficiently seared on one side, it will release from the bottom of the pan without much effort. Remove the meat from the pan and place it back on the tray. Repeat this process three times with the remaining meat. If your oil begins to smoke, turn down your heat a bit.
- Once the meat is browned and removed from the pan, add the chopped garlic, tomato paste, sugar, dried thyme, and Worcestershire sauce to the oil in the pan. Use a wooden spoon or metal spatula to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook the garlic for about one minute, allowing it to brown but not burn. Add the beef stock and stir to combine.
- Add the seared meat back to the pot with the beef stock and bring to a boil over medium heat. This may take up to thirty minutes for the mixture to come to a boil.
- Once the mixture is boiling, cover the pot, reduce the heat, and maintain a gentle simmer. The beef will require about 1 hour to become very tender and fork-tender. Once the meat is fully cooked, add the roasted vegetables to the pot.
- At this point, you can serve it immediately, but it is much-improved if you allow it to sit overnight (or up to three days) in the fridge.
- If you decided to make it in advance, allow it to cool at room temperature for about an hour before storing it covered in the fridge. When you are ready to serve it, there will be a chilled layer of fat on the top. Use a spoon to scrape this off and discard. Gently heat the stew until everything is heated through.