The Best Beef Stew

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Seriously.  It’s the best.  I would know.
I’ve been waiting for this accolade for over 4 years.  This phrase, “honey, this can be our forever, family recipe, beef stew.”  And because of that, this recipe deserves a spot on the blog.
Last night’s menu:  Parker’s Beef Stew, Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits, and a small Arugula Orange Salad with Cranberries.
That, my friends, is something we don’t hear a lot around this house.  I mean, the food is good, even better than good, more often than not.  But never a, “this could be our forever.”  Thank you Ina.
Last night I ventured to a place where I have been shot down plenty of times in the past.  I have made many beef stew recipes and they have never turned out like this nor have they been as easy.  Seriously.  But I did tweak it a bit.  I’ll note my changes below.  But if you even kind of like beef stew or would like to like it, make this.  Thick but not too thick.  Tender, yummy beef with a delicious sauce.  Oh, I want more!
But you have to use the best ingredients you can afford here, it really makes it worth the effort.  What you will have in front of you if you do is company worthy Beef Stew, like you could serve it to your boss or someone really important:)
I’ve been trying to get at least 3 recipes a week off my BC Recipe List and last night we accomplished 2, both really good.  So I will be posting them all, if I remember, because it’s fun.  And I want too!
But back to the stew, like I said I did change some things, actually made it a little easier than it was, which was easy but a little labor intensive.  Plus I cut it in half, I’ll post the original recipe with my changes and the 1/2 portions included.  But don’t let the work dissuade you, it’s perfect for a day at home, and it’s worth every minute you invest..  And with Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits, it’s even better.
Parker’s Beef Stew (adapted Ina Garten Back to Basics)  Serves 6 (or 3 if you halve it, measurements noted below)


  • 2 1/2 pounds good quality chuck beef, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (I went to Whole Foods for this and it was only 4.99/lb. and for half a recipe use 1 pound, you could use less meat for the original recipe too if you would like and use more)
  • 1 (750-ml bottle) good red wine (I used 1/3 of a bottle of Trader Joes Cabernet; we drank the rest!)
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, smashed (1 1/2)
  • 3 bay leaves (I didn’t have so I omitted)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (1 C for the halved recipe)
  • 6 ounces bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces (use good bacon, we used Nueske’s, and 3 slices)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch cubes (1 onion for halved, I used half red and half yellow…it’s what we had)
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally in 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 pound small potatoes, halved or quartered (I bought red potatoes and measured them in the store, 2 medium red potatoes equal 1/2 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (3 cloves) (1T)
  • 2 cups or 1 (14 1/2-ounce can) beef broth (I buy it in the box so I can use it a little at a time, just measured out 7 ounces)
  • 1 large (or 2 small) branch fresh rosemary (I used dried, a little over a teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (I omitted, we don’t care for them)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (1 T)
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (I also omitted)


Place the beef in a bowl with red wine, garlic, and bay leaves. Place in the refrigerator and marinate overnight. (Unfortunately I read this part right before I wanted to start this, so I let it marinate for about 30 minutes, minus the bay leaves)
The next day, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Brown the bacon in a large saute pan for 5-7 minutes, over medium-low heat.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a Dutch oven. Do not get rid of the bacon grease!
Combine the flour, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Lift the beef out of the marinade with a slotted spoon and discard the bay leaves, saving the marinade. In batches, dredge the cubes of beef in the flour mixture and then shake off the excess.
In the same saute pan, brown half the beef over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Place the beef in the Dutch oven with the bacon and continue to brown the remaining beef, adding oil as necessary. (If the beef is very lean, you'll need more oil.) Place all the beef in the Dutch oven.
Lower the heat to the saute pan to medium-low and add the onions, cook for 5 minutes adding olive oil if necessary.  Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute.  Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Place all the vegetables in the Dutch oven over the beef. Add 2 1/2 cups of the reserved marinade to the empty pot and cook over high heat to deglaze the bottom of the saute pan, scraping up all the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the beef stock, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. (I did this, but I added the above ingredients stock-pepper to the dutch oven and just poured in the wine marinade later…it’s easier) Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the Dutch oven and bring to a simmer over medium heat on top of the stove. Cover the pot and place it in the oven to bake it for about 2 hours, until the meat and vegetables are all tender, stirring once during cooking. If the stew is boiling rather than simmering, lower the heat to 250 or 275 degrees F.
Before serving, stir in the frozen peas, season to taste, and serve hot.  Also remove the Rosemary branch if you use fresh.


Stacey Rebholz said...

oh my goodness, is it ever good! just had my second helping and will make many more times i'm sure, thanks for sharing andrea! you have great ideas & i enjoy reading your blog! :)

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