This weekend my main man Ben whipped up a batch of his famous Beef Stew with mashed potatoes and it was so dreamy that I immediately stole a bowl to photograph for you.
Ben’s beef stew is the epitome of winter warmth, and he’s been making it nearly every weekend for a month now. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to share it! This hearty dish is cozy, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food. We call it beef stew but what it really is, is gravy, which is why it’s so delicious draped over a bowl of fluffy mashed potatoes. The meat is so tender it melts in your mouth, and the sauce is packed with flavor.
Get your spoons ready!
Slow Cooked Beef Stew
Finely diced vegetables and dried herbs are sauteed with tender bits of stew meat before braising the afternoon away in beef broth thickened slightly with butter and flour. It is TO DIE FOR and just the thing to tuck into on a cold night. Add a class of cab and a roaring fire and you’ll have to pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming!
What is the Best Meat for Beef Stew?
We buy “stew meat” for beef stew with mashed potatoes, which is usually cut from a chuck (shoulder) roast. That said, you can also use a top or bottom round roast or beef tips for beef stew. Many recipes call for leaving the meat in large chunks, but Ben cuts the beef into small, bite-sized pieces so melt in your mouth in the final dish.
Do I Have to Brown the Meat for Beef Stew?
Normally, if you were using large hunks of roast for beef stew, yes, you would want to brown them first before simmering/braising. Since the beef is cut so small in this recipe though, all you need to do is saute in a Dutch oven before braising. One less step, FTW!
Is Wine Needed for Beef Stew?
The short answer? No, it’s not. Wine can add a great depth of flavor to beef stew, and Ben has deglazed the pan with a big glug of red wine after sauting the vegetables in the past, but you can still get wonderful flavor without it.
Alright fam, fire up the stove and let’s get cooking!
How to Make Beef Stew from Scratch
Start by chopping all the vegetables – the smaller the better. That way they really melt into the sauce (which is important because I hate big hunks of cooked carrots!)
You’ll need carrots, celery, and shallots or onions, plus lots of garlic.
Once the prep work is done, heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat then add dried thyme and rosemary. Let the herbs saute for about 30 seconds.
Next add all the chopped vegetables to the pot, season with salt and pepper, then saute until very tender, about 10 minutes. Next add sliced mushrooms then saute until tender, another 5-7 minutes.
Now add stew meat cut into bite-sized pieces. Season with LOTS of salt and pepper and a dash of red pepper flakes then brown the meat, about 8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together melted butter and gluten-free flour or all-purpose flour in a small dish. Add to the Dutch oven then stir to coat the meat and cook for 1 minute. This mixture will give the Beef Stew a bit of glossiness, richness, and thickness. It is a must-have for delicious, thick Beef Stew!
Finally, stream in gluten-free beef broth or stock then turn the heat to high and bring the stew to a boil.
Pop in 2 bay leaves then place a lid on top, turn the heat down to medium-low, and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
After two hours, take the lid off then simmer low and slow for another 1-1/2 hours, or until the beef is tender and the sauce is very thick. Again, we’re going for a gravy-ish consistency.
Last step for the Beef Stew is to add frozen peas then cook for 2 minutes.
About 45 minutes before the stew is done, make a batch of mashed potatoes, which is what Ben always serves his stew over (you could also serve it with egg noodles or gnocchi.) He whips his potatoes with milk, butter, salt, and a dollop of sour cream – a unique addition that I had never tasted before. It totally makes the mashed potatoes though – try it sometime!
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Beef Stew with Mashed Potatoes
Beef Stew with mashed potatoes is cozy to the max! Slow cooked on the stove and packed full of flavor, each bowl is like a food hug.
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2 carrots, chopped small
- 2 ribs celery, chopped small
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- salt and pepper
- 8oz sliced button mushrooms
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-1/2lbs stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 Tablespoons gluten-free flour or all-purpose flour (dish will not be GF if using AP flour)
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 32oz gluten-free beef broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Heat oil in a dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat. Add dried thyme and rosemary then saute for 30 seconds. Add carrots, celery, and shallots, season with salt and pepper, and then saute until vegetables are browned and tender, 10 minutes. Add mushrooms then saute until tender, 7-10 more minutes. Add garlic then saute for 1 minute, or until very fragrant. Turn heat up to medium-high then add stew meat, red pepper flakes, lots of salt and pepper, and then saute until meat is browned, 8-10 minutes.
- Whisk together melted butter and flour in a small dish then add to pot and stir to coat meat. Cook for 1 minutes then stream in beef broth. Turn heat up to high and bring stew to a boil then add bay leaves. Place a lid on top, turn heat down to medium-low, and then simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Remove lid then simmer for another 1-1/2 hours, or until meat is tender and stew is thickened, stirring occasionally. If stew begins to thicken before meat is tender, place lid back on top. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary then add frozen peas and cook for 2 minutes. Remove bay leaves then serve over mashed potatoes.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.