This week is our Spring Break, we’re laying low because our oldest is in Drivers Ed classes all week and because that little flu bug that I thought hit lightly, did not, it hit me hard, dad-gummit. I’ve had lots of quality time with my pillow and couch this past week, but on the flip side I’ve also had some sweet times with my 13 year old who still likes to snuggle! I’ll take it, even if it meant feeling lousy all week long. Thankfully we’ve had some cooler weather this week, I don’t like being sick when it’s nice out, it just feels wrong, so I’ve been thankful for cloudy, dreary, chilly, and rainy days that have matched how I’ve felt.
Nothing says curl up on the couch and wait for me like this wonderful beef stew. This is my all time favorite beef stew and is inspired by none other than the Pioneer Woman’s Beef Stew. This stew has it all going for it, it’s slow cooked for extra tender goodness, it fills your home with wonderful, savory smells throughout the day, it’s a one pot meal and you can fix and forget it. The longer it stews, the more intense the flavors and tender the meat. I love it and nothing says comfort food, like this welcoming, stay indoors, snuggle by the fire with a good book like this delicious stew.
TIP: Double or even triple this recipe freeze leftovers and pull out for another wonderful comfort food kind of day and make Shepherd’s Pie or Beef Pot Pies!
Gather these fine ingredients, any beer will do, though I personally feel that the darker the beer the better the flavors.
And now get out that old cast iron pot or dutch oven, you know the one your mom gave you that she used to cook all sorts of wonderful stews, soups and spaghetti sauces in, the one that weighs a hundred pounds, but somehow makes everything you cook in it taste better! Oh and it’s a huge perk if it’s in harvest gold! I love this pot and am so thankful that my mom gave it to me a few years back.
Let’s get started by drizzling in your olive oil, toss in your pat of butter and bring to a medium-high heat.
Chop your beef into bit size pieces, it might take a few batches, but this part is worth it to get a nice crust on your beef bites. Don’t crowd the pieces and keep your temp on the higher side, turning after a few minutes when it’s nice and brown and crispy.
As batches are crisp on all sides, remove with slotted spoon to plate and repeat until all your meat has been browned.
Next, toss your onion slices into the hot pot and cook until soft and they start to caramelize; about 7-10 minutes, stirring regularly.
Add your chopped garlic and wait for it…oh that wonderful smell, stir around for a minute or so until you smell that beautiful, pungent fragrance wafting up to greet your senses.
Next pour in your beer, deglazing the bottom of your pot and getting all of those wonderful crispy bits of beef back in to the stew, then add your beef broth…
Add in all of your spices (if you haven’t tried smoked paprika I highly recommend it), tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Give it a good stir…
Pour your beef back into the mixture, making sure to get all of those juices that have settled onto the plate.
Stir well and return to a simmer. At this point, you can keep it on the stove on low and simmer for several hours, but personally, I like to throw it in my oven at 250 degrees all day.
Isn’t that lovely, that harvest gold pot!? Let it bubble throughout the day, checking on the liquid levels every couple of hours. If needed add a cup or two of hot water or more beef broth.
About two hours before you are ready to eat, toss in several handfuls of baby carrots (or carrots cut into nice size chunks) and a small bag of fingerling potatoes or another small potato. I have used all sorts, red potatoes, new potatoes, yukon gold, assorted fingerling potatoes. If you made enough to make a Shepherd’s pie or Beef Pot pie, you might want to cut your carrots a little smaller and give your potatoes a quartering as well. Give it another stir and put the lid back on and back in the oven it goes.
Remove from oven and remove about a cup of liquid.
Add your flour to the reserved liquid and mix well.
Stir into your stew to thicken it nicely, you may omit this step if you prefer a thinner stew.
Spoon into generous bowls and serve with a hearty bread, such as this Beer Bread which pairs most beautifully with this stew.
I typically double this recipe because each time I intend to have enough to make a shepherds pie, and each time I barely have enough to feed my husband lunch the next day. Consider tripling this recipe, because it makes a wonderful Shepherd’s pie or Beef Pot Pie, like the one below!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 lbs stew meat, cut into bit size pieces
- 1 medium onion, sliced thin
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 12 oz can or bottle of beer (will cook out over time)
- 1 carton (32 oz) beef broth (additional if simmering all day)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 ½ tsp sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 new or red potatoes, quartered or small bag of fingerling potatoes
- 4 carrots, roughly sliced or 2 cups baby carrots
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (optional) for thickening
- Preheat oven 250 degrees.
- Heat oil and butter over medium-high heat in dutch oven or large pot.
- Brown stew meat without being crowded (may take a couple batches)
- Remove with slotted spoon to plate, while browning the rest of the meat.
- Toss in sliced onions, stirring until soft and caramelized, about 7-10 minutes.
- Toss in minced garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Deglaze the pot by pouring in beer and stirring to get all those flavorful chunks off bottom.
- Pour in beef broth.
- Add spices, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, sugar and stir to blend.
- Return meat, give it a good stir to incorporate spices and return to simmer
- Place lid on dutch oven and place in oven.
- May keep on stove on low in place of putting in oven, but watch liquid levels.
- Cook 5-6 hours, less will work, but the longer you cook the more tender the stew meat.
- hours before serving add carrots and potatoes and return to oven
- Just before serving remove 1 cup of liquid, whisk flour into liquid.
- Pour back into stew and stir to thicken
- Serve with Beer bread or other crusty bread.