Beef stew screams fall. Just the THOUGHT of beef stew has me thinking cozy fires, comfy blankets and fuzzy slippers. I used to think making beef stew was something only my mom could make. Why? Because it seemed very complicated and labor intensive. Plus, I was afraid it would never taste as good as hers. That can be a big stumbling block! Even though my mom doesn’t live far away I recently realized that if I want beef stew, it’s up to me to make it.
After a brief call to mom I dove in and made a very simple but amazingly delicious beef stew. That was about 6 weeks ago and Mr. Wes has requested beef stew two more times. I would offer him pizza and he would ask “do you have any more of that beef stew?” Yeah, it’s that good!
As the title suggests, this is a very basic recipe. Don’t be afraid to add different veggies, herbs and seasonings. You could throw in turnips or even cubed butternut squash for a nice sweet/savory dish. I like to double the recipe and then freeze it in small jars for great single serving lunches and dinners.
Basic Beef Stew
1 ¼-1 ½ lbs organic beef roast, cubed (you can also by already cubed beef if you like)
1 pound of leeks, washed and roughly chopped. Whites and some of the pale green parts (if you don’t have leeks use one large white onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 medium carrots, cut into bite sized pieces
4-5 medium potatoes (yellow or redskin will work), cut into bite sized pieces
4-5 cups of water or homemade stock
1 bay leaf
sea salt and pepper to taste
dried herbs of your choice. I like savory and thyme.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven heat a generous glug of olive oil over medium heat. Add the beef cubes and a pinch of salt. Brown the meat about 8-10 minutes until it becomes nice a caramelized and juices start releasing. Give it a stir every few minutes so it cooks pretty evenly.
- Place the partially cooked meat in a bowl along with the juices. Set aside. Put your pot back on the stove over medium heat and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add your chopped leeks and a pinch of salt. Cook the leeks, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften a bit, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, carrots and potatoes to the pot and continue cooking the vegetables another 5-6 minutes, giving them the occasional stir so they cook evenly. If they start getting stuck to the bottom of the pot add a splash of water. This will help prevent sticking and release delicious browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Once your veggies have cooked a bit and become slightly softened add your meat and juice back to the pot along with the water bay leaf, a generous pinch of salt and herbs of choice. You want your ingredients to be covered by about an inch of water. Cover the pot, raise the heat to medium high and bring the stew to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook the stew for about 30 minutes, checking occasionally and giving it a stir. Your veggies should be soft but not mushy and your meat cooked through.
- Before serving, taste the broth and add salt and pepper and needed. Enjoy!