Classic Beef Stew

Classic Beef Stew

It’s mid-December.  The days are now short and the quiet cold of winter has descended upon the farm.    But, our kitchen is alive with bubbling pots of broth, soups and stews including this delicious Classic Beef Stew.   We use our own BBF Stew Meat which are roughly 1″ pieces cut from the Chuck.   This is a cut that needs a low, slow braise (or use an Instant Pot) cooking until the pieces are fall-apart tender.

For this recipe, we used homemade beef broth.   Making homemade beef broth is very simple and will make this dish 10x more delicious than using store bought broth.  It’s totally worth the small effort.

Our broth was made with:

1 – 5 lb bag Beef Bones

1 – Beef Knuckle Bone

The bones were added to a large stock pot and enough water added to just cover.  We simmered this pot until the bones had very little meat/fat left on them.   The bones were not browned before simmering which is just a personal preference.  The broth was strained into a large bowl, cooled and fat skimmed off.  We use the fat for high heat roasting or making bird suet.

Now time to start your stew.

2 lbs BBF Stew Meat, seasoned

Fresh garlic, 6-8 cloves

Bay Leaves, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage – any of these can be used or some combination

1 cup Red Wine – your favorite variety

4 quarts beef stock

Onions – 4 medium, quartered

2 cups carrots, large dice

2 cups potatoes, large dice

1 cup celery, large dice

Heat fat of choice in a heavy stock pot and brown seasoned pieces of stew meat on all sides.   Do this in two or three batches, adding more fat, if necessary, between batches.  While beef is resting, add 2 quartered onions and saute for a few minutes.  Add red wine, beef broth, garlic and herbs.  Add browned stew meat, set heat to low and barely simmer for 1.5  – 2 hours.  Onions will ‘melt’ into the broth after this much cooking time and will add beautiful flavor.  At this point, beef should not be completely tender as there is more cooking time for the vegetables.   Add remaining onions, carrots, potatoes and celery.  Continue at a very low simmer until beef pieces are tender – another 1.5 – 2 hours.  Check periodically so beef and veggies do not get overcooked.

Taste broth and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.   You should now have an amazing, full flavored broth, tender beef pieces and vegetables cooked through but not falling apart.

We enjoy the stew just like this but if you want a thicker stew, combine flour and water to make a slurry.   Make sure this mixture is blended completely with no lumps of flour.  With stew at a low simmer & whisking continuously (trying to avoid all the meat and veggies!), slowly drizzle the slurry into the broth.   Start with just a couple tablespoons.   Let stew simmer a few minutes and then add another couple tablespoons if you want a thicker stew.   Just go slowly.