Hearty Beef Stew

Hearty Beef Stew is rated 5.0 out of 5 by 18.
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Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 135 minutes
Servings: 6

Two things set this old-fashioned beef stew apart from its rivals: browning the beef in bacon fat and adding lots of vegetables to the pot, both of which add flavor to the velvety sauce. The result is comfort food, grandmother style. This grandmother didn’t cook with wine, but if you want to, see the variation below.


  • 3 lbs. boneless beef chuck
  • 4 thick slices applewood-smoked bacon, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 6 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups beef stock or broth
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/4 lbs. red-skinned potatoes


Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325°F. Cut the beef into 1 1/2-inch cubes and set aside. In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon in the oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crisp and browned, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain and set aside. Pour the fat into a heatproof bowl. Return 2 Tbs. of the fat to the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper. In batches to avoid crowding, add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer the beef to a plate.

Add another 2 Tbs. of the fat to the pot and heat over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and let it melt. Sprinkle with the flour and stir well. Gradually stir in the stock, and then stir in the tomato paste, the 1 Tbs. parsley and the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Return the beef to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover, place in the oven, and cook for 1 1/2 hours.

Cut the unpeeled potatoes into 1-inch cubes, add them to the pot, stir, re-cover and continue cooking until both the meat and potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes more. Season the stew with salt and pepper. Serve at once, garnished with parsley and the reserved bacon. Serves 6.

Variaton: Substitute 1 1/2 cups hearty red wine, such as Syrah or Zinfandel, for an equal amount of the beef stock. If you like, sauté 1/2 lb. cremini mushrooms, quartered, in 2 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes, and add them to the stew with the potatoes.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2009)

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Beef Stew! I made this last night for a dinner party and it was a hit! Everyone loved it. The prep time did take me longer than 35 mins. I followed the recipe but did leave the bacon pieces in the stew throughout cooking. Served it with crusty bread. It’s a crowd pleaser for sure. Thinking about making this again at Christmas!
Date published: 2018-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Hearty Stew Amazingly delicious, thick and hearty. My only recommendation is to add an extra 30 minutes to the cook time once you’ve added the potatoes and also adding a couple extra bay leaves helps to.
Date published: 2018-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Delicious! I've made this recipe three times and it doesn't last long enough for leftovers. I did modify slightly - In place of the bacon, I used olive oil to brown the beef and vegetables. In addition, I used 1 cup of my favorite red blend to enhance the flavor with 3 cups of low sodium beef broth. I also added fresh cut string beans with the sauteed mushrooms. Last but not least, I whip up some mashed potatoes separately and use them as a base layer for serving. I would recommend that you try this recipe; you will not be disappointed! Bon Appetit!
Date published: 2017-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful dish. Made this yesterday. Added close to 1 cup red wine and put the diced bacon in with the potatoes and browned mushrooms. Used less flour. Also, added extra garlic and some beef demi glace. Just wonderful. I will absolutely make again.
Date published: 2016-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The beef stew to beat! This stew was wonderful. I've made many and this is the one to beat and really not very difficult/messy sans browning the meat. Definitely do the wine (we used a bold California Zin) and mushrooms (used baby portabella quartered). Added some frozen peas after cooking was done and let sit covered for 10 mins. Serve with crusty bread. Really enjoyed this recipe and will make again. Also I couldn't figure out where the canola oil came into play so omitted it.
Date published: 2016-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Grandma's comfort, just a bit healthier. Fabulous flavor that melds well. Just scrumptious! I did cut the meat in half and still had wonderful flavor. Anything with bacon I give non-healthy. I used white truffle olive oil instead.
Date published: 2016-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Throw out all of your other recipes! Throw out all of your other beef stew recipes - this one will trump them all! 5 stars all the way. I did replace 1 1/2 cups of red wine with stock like some others had suggested (as did the receipt as a suggestion). I also just added the bacon bits with the beef instead of using it as a garnish as a I felt that it would add more flavour. This recipe is truly outstanding like everyone else says it is.
Date published: 2016-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great winter/fall recipe I needed to feed 20 people for my husband's bday so I DOUBLED the recipe but made a few other changes as well. These changes worked great although the basic recipe I am sure is just as good. I used 18 slices of bacon which was really a good idea because I had the right amount to sprinkle on top plus needed all the fat to cook the beef in, used 5.5 lbs beef, added colored carrots instead of plain orange ones, only used 6 tbsp of flour, put the herbs in a cheese cloth bag and pulled them out before serving, used half red wine & half chicken stock instead of beef broth and traded butternut squash for the potatoes, . It was delicious and beautiful! The adults as well as the kids all loved it. I served a fall salad and crunchy bread with it.
Date published: 2014-10-18
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