Simple Beef Stew
Nothing says comfort like beef stew, and this easy and simple beef stew recipe will warm the cockles of your heart!
‘Cockles of the heart’ is an expression that my dad used to say when I was a kid. I never really thought anything of it, it seemed like a totally normal expression to me, until I became an adult myself and realized that nobody else says it. The thing about expressions is that they are inherited culturally or traditionally and it turns out that this is exactly what this expression is; from my pops to me! The good news is that it actually makes sense. The cockles of the heart are its ventricles, named by some in Latin as “cochleae cordis”, from “cochlea”, alluding to their shape. (I googled this definition, don’t worry.) And what’s even more interesting is that it is thought that the expression is from Irish Gaelic Origin, so the fact that I’m using it to describe an Irish inspired beef stew is even more fitting!
I’ve had many bowls of stew in my day, and this recipe is a staple in any kitchen. Stewing the tougher cuts of beef is a great way to cook with them because the low and slow cooking time helps to tenderize the beef into a delicious melt-in-your-mouth stew. I added carrots and potatoes to this stew, but you could also use parsnips and add green peas as well (I actually just forgot to do so). This recipe works as a Sunday family dinner, or it is a great make-ahead recipe for a week of winter lunches.
Simple Beef Stew
The vegetables in this classic simple beef stew can be swapped out for whatever you might have on hand; parsnips would make a great alternative to potatoes, and the addition of green peas with give it a nice refreshing bite.
Paleo, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
- 2lb stewing beef
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 medium potatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. flour (preferably organic)
- 2 tbsp. tomato puree
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 750ml beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 fresh ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- In a large oven-proof pot or dutch oven, brown the beef. Season stewing beef with pinch of salt and pepper on all sides, and melt 1 tbsp. of butter in the pot. Add the beef in batches, and cook for 30 seconds to one minute until beef is browned all over. You don’t want to cook the beef all the way through, you simply want to sear the meat to ensure it retains its juices.
- Once browned, remove all of the beef from the pot and set aside on a plate.
- In the same pot, add the other tablespoon of butter and add in onion and celery. Cook 3-4 minutes until soft and translucent. Add in minced garlic and cook for another 1 minute.
- Add a splash (about 2 tablespoons) of the beef stock to the pot and using a wooden spoon or spatula help to deglaze the pot and remove any brown bits from the bottom. This is all flavour and you want to ensure it cooks with the stew.
- Tip in tomato paste and balsamic vinegar and stir well to combine with onion mixture. Add in stewing beef and cover with flour. Stir to ensure that beef if well coated with flour and onion mixture before adding stock. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour in remaining beef stock and add in chopped carrots and potatoes. Stir to ensure everything is well mixed; the beef and vegetables don’t need to be completely covered by the broth, they can be poking out of the broth a little.
- Toss in bay leaves and fresh thyme. Cover pot and transfer to the oven for 2 hours until beef is tender. The stew can also be cooked on the stovetop on a low simmer for 2 hours.
- Once complete, remove from the oven and stir to combine. The broth should be thick and rich. If you find the broth too liquidy, simply boil on the stovetop for 10-15 minutes to help reduce a little.
- Serve warm and enjoy!