Classic Beef Stew

Prep: 20 minutes | Cook: 2 hours | Serves: 4-6


1 pound stew beef cubes

3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 whole carrots, peeled and cut into 2" pieces

1/4 cup roughly chopped mushrooms

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 tablespoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1 14.5-ounce can beef broth

2 cups water

2 bay leaves

1/8 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons olive oil

Fresh parsley (optional)


Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. While the oil is warming, sprinkle the beef cubes evenly with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the flour to a large zip-top bag, then drop the beef cubes in all at once. Seal the top and then shake the bag until the cubes have been coated with flour.

Add half the beef cubes to the pot and brown them on all sides - about 2 minutes per side. Remove them to a plate lined with a paper towel, and then repeat the browning process with the rest of the beef cubes.

(Depending on the size of your pot, you may be able to fit more beef cubes at one time. Take care not to crowd them, or else you won't get a nice brown crust.)

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot, followed by the onions, mushrooms, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, allspice, paprika and parsley. Cook the mixture until the onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes, and then stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the beef broth all at once, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the bits that were stuck to the bottom of the pot. Next, add the water, bay leaves and the beef cubes and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, then let it simmer for 1 hour.

After an hour, add the potatoes and carrots, then cover and cook for another 30 minutes.

Ladle out 1 cup of the hot liquid into a bowl and whisk in the cornstarch until the mixture is smooth. There might be a few small white lumps, and that's okay. Pour the cornstarch mixture back into the pot, and stir to incorporate it fully - this will help thicken the stew. If you like a thinner, brothier stew you can omit this step!

Cover the pot and cook for another 30 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves, and serve the beef stew with a sprig of fresh parsley and a loaf of crusty French bread.

Liza Hawkins | (a)Musing Foodie | January 2013