This thick and Hearty Beef Stew is loaded with flavor, is made in one pot, and can be either simmered on the stove or baked in the oven. This is NOT your traditional beef stew. This is the ultimate beef stew and it’s gluten free!
This stew is naturally thickened by the potatoes and tomato paste. It’s seasoned twice and has everything in it that makes a delicious and hearty meal.
Let me explain what makes this recipe great.
You need a great cut of meat.
I buy a 3 – 3 ½ pound well-marbled chuck roast and cut the pieces myself. Buy the best meat you can with lots of white lines of fat running through it.
Why not buy the stew beef already cut?
First, those are cut too small. Cutting them into larger slices means more surface area to brown which also means the process is quicker. I’m not looking for small pieces of chow. The meat shrinks as it is so larger pieces are better. We want a hearty stew and not gravy train.
You need to brown the meat.
Yes, it’s a pain to stand there for 10 minutes frying up meat in two batches but it needs to be done if you want that depth in flavor. You may ask, “why in two batches?” Because you don’t want to crowd the meat. Crowding the meat causes the meat to steam and turn gray rather than sear and brown.
You need to spice it up!
Two medium/large sweet onions and eight cloves of garlic are used to make this beef stew. I add several spices that add a lot of flavor. We aren’t talking a teaspoon here. I start off with a tablespoon of kosher salt which equals about 1 teaspoon of regular fine salt. Notice how I say start off. Remember, you are seasoning meat, veggies, and sauce. The potatoes soak up a lot of salt just so you know.
I add a whole 6 ounce can of tomato paste. I know that sounds like a lot but this makes a lot of stew. When the paste is added, it’s cooked until it loses its bright color. When the paste starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, that is when you add the spices.
Adding the spices before the liquid gives the spices a chance to cook and release their flavor. Once fragrant, add the chicken stock. Yes, chicken stock and not beef stock. I feel the chicken stock gives better flavor. Chicken stock may not be the only liquid that surprises you. I also add red wine vinegar which brightens up the dish. Let’s not forget the wine. Adding a cup of red wine may somewhat be the standard in stews, but I add half now and half later.
Once the liquids are added, it’s time to add all the vegetables. I know that other recipes don’t add the vegetables until later. I don’t mind my vegetables cooked. Also, adding the potatoes now not only allows them to cook, but some break up and thicken the sauce without the addition of flour. The trick is to cut the potatoes in thick slices. Some keep their shape, some don’t. It’s a stew so everything gets all mixed together anyways.
After about 1 ½ hours, add the other half of wine along with the remaining spices. Yes, just like my chili recipe, I season twice. I recommend you give that chili a try. It doesn’t disappoint.
Continue to simmer on low for another ½ hour with the cover off. This allows some of the liquid to evaporate and thicken. The meat will be fork tender at this point. You will need to adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper. I recommend letting the stew sit for a bit to bring down the temp. Remember, this has been simmering for two hours and it’s quite hot. You will burn your tongue and not taste a thing. Adjust the seasoning to your liking.
The sauce isn’t smooth and that’s because the potatoes thickened the sauce and not flour. I promise you, it will tease your taste buds and put a smile on your face.
Be happy, eat well.
- 3 - 3 ½ pounds chuck beef cut into 2” pieces
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 2 large onion chopped
- 8 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 3 teaspoons ground cumin divided
- 3 teaspoons granulated garlic powder divided
- 3 teaspoon paprika divided
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup red wine* divided not cooking wine
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 pounds russet potatoes sliced 1” thick**
- 1 pound mushrooms quartered, optional
- 1 pound baby carrots
Season beef generously with the salt and pepper.
In a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed stock pot, over medium high heat, add oil and fry half the meat for 2 minutes. Flip meat and fry for another 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining meat. The bottom of the pot will turn dark brown but don’t worry because that brown stuff on the bottom is all flavor.
Add tomato paste and cook until it loses its bright color - about 2 minutes. It will start to stick to the bottom and turn brown and that’s ok. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the cumin, 2 teaspoons of the granulated garlic powder, 2 teaspoons of the paprika, the bay leaves, and oregano. Stir until fragrant.
Add in chicken stock, ½ cup of wine, red wine vinegar, mushrooms, carrots and potatoes. Bring the stew to a simmer then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. See Note for oven directions.
Remove cover, add remaining wine and spices, stir, and continue to cook for another ½ hour uncovered. The meat will be tender and the sauce will be thick and this was accomplished without any flour. Season with more kosher salt and pepper to taste. I add a good amount of kosher salt to this, but remember, kosher salt is not the same as fine salt. So 1 tablespoon of kosher is about 1 teaspoon of fine.
I let the stew sit for about ½ hour before adjusting the salt and pepper. The reason for this is the stew is extremely hot, therefore, when you taste it, you won’t taste much. I let it settle down a bit. Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, or cauliflower mash. Don't forget the crusty bread. Enjoy!
If you’d rather cook this in the oven, on step 4, after adding the liquid and vegetables, place covered stew in a 300 degree oven for 1 ½ - 2 hours. Stir, remove cover, and return to oven for another 30 minutes. The sauce will reduce and thicken. Because of inconsistent ovens, be sure to stir and make sure the sauce is thick but not dry. I’ve never had to add water to this, but just to cover all bases, make sure it hasn’t reduced too much. Otherwise, you can add ¼ cup more of wine and water.
*You don't need to use an expensive wine here.
**You can substitute baby potatoes or small red potatoes, halved. You can mash a few to thicken sauce.