Braising is one of the most basic means of cooking that has continued from the days of old and is a simple technique for even the most inexperienced cook. That basically means you take a tough cut of meat, like chuck steak which is used in this recipe, cook it in broth or stock until it becomes extremely tender.
My Hearty Rustic Beef Stew Recipe is an adaptation of my mum’s and grandmother's homemade beef stew which is known in England as Beef Hash. This dish was a weekly affair in our house, usually on Wednesdays. I can still smell the comforting aroma of the meat and veggies cooking as I walked in the door from school at 4:30 p.m.
You may substitute any cut of inexpensive meat for this recipe. I used chuck steak as it has a great flavor and is relatively affordable. Other inexpensive cuts like bottom round and London broil become just as tender when braised.
Both fresh herbs and dried ones are added to this stew, but if you wish to use all dried herbs because it is more convenient for you, then please do. The following recipe is an old family favorite using readily available ingredients and fresh local produce.
I have provided alternative measurements for dried and fresh herbs throughout the recipe, as well as, cooking on the stovetop or in the oven. This dish is always delicious regardless of the method you use. I really hope you enjoy!
2-4 tbsp. olive oil
1½ - 2 lbs. chuck steak, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 large yellow onions, chopped
3 large carrots, cut into ½ inch medallions
3 celery ribs, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
½ cup of sweet vermouth/red wine (optional) or water
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. celery seeds
3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 2 tsp. dried)
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 1 tbsp. dried)
10 cups beef stock or broth
½ cup packed fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped
1-2 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with water
Additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
Stove Top Method
1. In a Dutch oven or skillet, heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil on medium high heat and brown the meat in small batches using more oil as necessary and then set aside. Add the sweet vermouth to deglaze by scraping up all of the lovely brown bits on the bottom (this will add more flavor) and cook for 1 minute more.
2. Return the browned meat to the pot and then add the tomato paste, herbs (if using fresh parsley, add this in last), bay leaves, broth or stock and stir well. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to very low. Cover tightly. Cook for 1 hour, then add the veggies and cook for 45 more minutes covered until meat is tender. Lastly, add fresh parsley and cook for 5 more minutes.
3. Bring the stew back to a boil and add in the cornstarch mixture. Boil for 1 minute stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and serve with some fresh, crusty bread!
(recipe serves 6)
Preheat oven to 300F.
Follow steps 1 through 2 above and then thicken the stew on the stove top as directed in step 3.