Beef Stew is one of my favorite homemade cold weather comfort foods! Every culture has some variation of a meat stew, but beef is the one I grew up with. When the sun sets earlier and the wind begins to howl, I love cooking up a batch of beef stew. It a pretty cheap way to warm your bones, fill your belly, and make your mouth happy.
When making this recipe, it’s best to use a dry red wine rather than a sweet one. In a pinch, you can technically omit the wine altogether, but your stew will always have a “missing” flavor. If you choose to do this, just use some of the broth instead of wine to deglaze the pan.
In our tiny kitchen, we just serve the stew family style. We put the pot in the middle of the table, dish what we want into our bowls, and chow down. I like to serve this recipe alongside crusty bread and a glass of the same wine I used while cooking.
This recipe will keep in a refrigerator for up to 3 days. Beef Stew can also be frozen for up to 3 months. When freezing, I let it cool completely before I spoon it into plastic freezer bags. I recommend making room to lay the freezer bag down flat in the freezer. By the next day, it will turn into a thin frozen slab of stew. These slabs will thaw much faster and can later be stacked to save space. When you have a tiny freezer and love to cook, space is critical! I use this method of all of my frozen meals.
- 4 pounds bottom-round beef cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 medium carrots cut chunky
- 2 medium potatoes cubed
- 6-8 medium mushrooms cut chunky
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Prepare vegetables by cutting up the potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms in large chunks (about 1-inch pieces.) Set aside in a large bowl as you finish cutting them. Cut the onion last and place on top of the other vegetables.
- Prepare the beef by trimming off any large portions of fat. Cut into large chunks (about 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces.)
- In your stew pot, heat 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Set over medium heat. (If you are using a crockpot, you will want to do this portion on the stovetop in a large skillet. Don't skip it.)
- Lightly coat each piece of beef with flour and brown in the oil. Do this a few pieces at a time, leaving room for the beef to breathe. Add more butter and olive oil as needed. Pull browned beef and set aside in a medium bowl until all pieces are done. (If you are using a crockpot, you can pull the beef and add directly into the crockpot.)
- Add the onions to your cooking oil. Saute until tender (about 10 minutes.)
- Reduce heat to low. Add the tomato paste to the onions. Mix until onions are well-coated.
- Add red wine to the onions. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pot until all the brown bits have been released. (If you are using a crockpot, transfer this mixture into your crockpot when done.)
- Add the browned beef, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, beef broth, bay leaf, salt, thyme, and black pepper to your stew pot. Stir.
- Cook on low heat for 2-4 hours (or in a crockpot for 7 1/2 hours). Stir occationally to prevent burning on the bottom. The stew is considered done with the beef cubes are tender and the potatoes and carrots are soft.
- Add in peas about 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve with crusty bread.
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Preparing Beef Stew In A Tiny Kitchen
The easiest way that I’ve found to prepare beef stew in a tiny kitchen is to resolve that you are going to do this in 3 stages—vegetable prep, meat prep, and cooking—in that order. Handling vegetables before meat will prevent you from having to wash your knife and cutting board when you switch ingredients.
Clean up is easier if you are cooking this completely on a stovetop or in an Instant Pot rather than in a standard crockpot. The browning process of the beef should not be skipped and this step just can’t be accomplished with a normal crockpot alone. If you’re going the crockpot route, expect that you will also be washing a large frying pan. The other clean up dishes will include a cutting board, knife, your stew pot, a medium bowl, a large bowl, and a large spoon.