Beef stew is an easy, comfort food recipe that I love to make in the cold winter months. Hearty chunks of beef cooked in a thick and rich sauce along with potatoes, carrots and onions.
As much as I love chicken noodle soup, chicken and dumplings, and meatloaf muffins and mashed potatoes, there is just something warming when you take a bite into a thick stew in the middle of December. It truly warms your body from the inside out.
However, because most recipes make enough to serve 6-8 people, I always wait until we are going to have guests for dinner to make this classic, one pot meal. Although leftovers taste even better the next day, they do not freeze well.
Therefore, I decided not to wait any longer and make the perfect stew recipe to serve two people. Although if you eat smaller portions, you may be lucky enough to have the delicious leftovers for lunch the next day.
Easy Beef Stew Recipe
- Dry Red Wine or Beef Broth
- White Wine Vinegar or Lemon Juice
- Soy Sauce, low-sodium
- Worcestershire sauce
- Beef Stew Meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Onion, diced
- Garlic Cloves, minced
- Beef Broth, divided
- Baby Potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Baby Carrots, cut into 1-inch sections
- Sliced Baby Portobello Mushrooms
- Fresh Thyme
- Cayenne pepper powder, optional
More Details About The Ingredients
1. Red Wine
Red wine is used to flavor both the meat and the broth. First it will be used in the marinade for the stew meat. Then it will be added to the broth during the cooking process.
This, along with the beef stock is what makes this easy beef stew so rich and delicious. However you want to make sure to use a dry red wine that is suitable for drinking.
A few suggestions on what type of wine to purchase includes Merlot, Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon. If you are worried about adding alcohol to the stew, no worries. Once the wine is added, the stew simmers and the actual alcohol evaporates, leaving only a rich, succulent flavor.
However, if for whatever reason that you don’t want to add the red wine, simply substitute additional beef broth instead. The flavor won’t be as deep or intense, although it will still taste amazing!
2. White Wine Vinegar
In order for the stew meat to break down and become super tender it needs an acid. I typically add white wine vinegar. However, you can also use lemon juice as an equal substitution if you don’t have white wine vinegar on hand.
3. Beef Stew Meat
So what is beef stew meat? Instead of being one specific cut of meat it is a combination of leftover meat from that the butcher has cut from various parts of the cow.
Most of the time the meat is fairly tough and requires a long, low and slow cook time to become tender. This is why it is necessary to add some sort of acid to the marinade and let it soak in overnight.
However, if you prefer to skip that process, you can use sirloin instead. Cut the sirloin in cubes and marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
It is standard to use onions, potatoes and carrots in any easy beef stew recipe. Although this recipe calls for baby potatoes, you can use 2 small Yukon gold or Russet potatoes instead.
And as for the carrots, most of us don’t have standard, full size carrots in our refrigerator any more. Therefore, the recipe calls for baby carrots. However if you do have full-size carrots, use two small carrots or one large one in place of the baby carrots.
When it comes to the mushrooms, you can leave them out if you prefer. My husband is not a fan of mushrooms, but he absolutely loves and will eat this stew, mushrooms and all.
5. Cayenne Pepper
If you are hesitant to use any type of heat in your dish, don’t worry. Just a pinch of cayenne balances out the sweetness of the broth without adding any heat.
In fact, if you like things hot, I suggest adding a little red pepper flakes to individual bowls when serving. The slight amount of heat adds another depth of flavor to this Easy Beef Stew recipe.
In a large resealable plastic bag or container, combine 1 cup wine, white wine vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and the stew meat. Submerge the meat in the marinade and cover or seal the bag.
Place the meat and marinade in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or preferably overnight whenever possible.
When ready to make the stew, remove the beef from the marinade and discard. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once hot add the stew meat and brown on all sides.
Then remove the meat and set aside while you prepare the vegetables. Using the same pot, reduce the heat to medium and saute the onion in the leftover juice and oil until tender. This will take approximately 5 minutes.
Then add the minced garlic to the pot and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Quickly add 2 cups of beef broth and the remaining wine to the pot.
If needed, deglaze the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula, removing any stuck bits. Then place the stew meat back in the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.
Once the pot is boiling, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, maintaining a slow but steady simmer.
Add the Vegetables
When the time is up, add the potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, thyme and cayenne (if using). Bring the pot back up to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Cover and cook for another 30 minutes or until vegetables and beef are tender. Use a fork to test the tenderness of the potatoes as a guideline.
If the tines of the fork go into the potatoes easily, without the potato falling apart, the stew is ready for the next step.
Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf from the pot. Then in a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and remaining beef broth until smooth and no clumps are visible.
Gradually stir the corn starch mixture into the hot beef stew. Then bring the pot back to a boil and cook, stirring frequently until thickened, approximately 3-4 minutes.
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- 1-1/2 cups dry red wine or beef broth, divided
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce, low-sodium
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 lb. beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 1/2 cups beef broth, divided
- 4-5 baby potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 6 baby carrots, cut into 1-inch sections
- 1 cup sliced baby portobello mushrooms
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- In a large resealable plastic bag or container, combine 1 cup wine, white wine vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and the stew meat. Submerge the meat in the marinade and cover or seal the bag. Place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or preferably overnight.
- When ready to cook, remove the beef from the marinade and discard. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once hot add the stew meat and brown on all sides. Remove meat and set aside.
- In the same pan, reduce heat to medium and saute onion until tender, approximately 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, Immediately add 2 cups beef broth and remaining wine. Deglaze the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula.
- Place the stew meat back in the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, thyme, bay leaf and cayenne pepper (if using). Bring the pot back up to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until vegetables and beef are tender. Remove the thyme sprigs.
- In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and remaining beef broth until smooth. Gradually stir into the hot beef stew. Bring the pot back to a boil and cook, stirring frequently until thickened, approximately 3-4 minutes.
I highly recommend marinating the stew meat overnight so that the meat becomes nice and tender. However, in an absolute hurry, you can skip this step, although the meat might by a little tough.
Recipe provided by Make Your Meals
Nutrition InformationYield 2
Amount Per Serving Calories 721Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 168mgSodium 1955mgCarbohydrates 34gFiber 4gSugar 7gProtein 65g
Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.