Hearty Beef Stew

Hearty Beef Stew is rated 5.0 out of 5 by 21.
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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 lb. (1.5 kg) 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 celery stalks , cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) lengths
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 6 Tbs. (2 oz./60 g) all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) 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 lb. (625 g) red-skinned potatoes


Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325°F (165°C). Cut the beef into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) 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 (2.5-cm) 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 (12 fl. oz./375 m) hearty red wine, such as Syrah or Zinfandel, for an equal amount of the beef stock. If you like, sauté 1/2 lb (250 g). 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 EVER!!! I made this for my mom and I last weekend and it is AMAZING. I've been looking for a go-to beef stew recipe for years and this one is it. I did make a few changes. I didn't have the fresh herbs called for, so I used ground and/or dried, except for the parsley, which I did have. The flavor was still wonderful. I also used pre-chopped garlic (about 2 heaping tablespoons because, well, garlic). And I added mushrooms because my mother and I both love mushrooms. Note -- I did get a little ahead of myself and I added my beef stock before I added the butter and the flour. So I mixed my roux separately and added it after the stock. Worked out fine. I don't know how they figure this at 6 servings! My poor dutch oven was so heavy my back still hurts from lifting it in and out of the oven (okay, not really, but you get the point) and I got about 10 cups of stew at the end of the day. Enough to keep some for myself, give some to my mom, and then enough to give some to my aunt and the neighbor. They all love it, too. You absolutely cannot go wrong with this stew. It's going in the regular fall/winter rotation.
Date published: 2019-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect Stew I halved the recipe, and it came out perfect. It was the right consistency right out of the pan. My husband loved it.
Date published: 2019-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect This was a hit. I've made many, many variations of beef stew but this is the one to rule them all! There weren't any leftovers so will double it next time!
Date published: 2019-01-17
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
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