This easy beef stew cooks perfectly on the stovetop in 2 hours. It’s a classic one-pot meal featuring incredibly tender beef in a rich, red wine sauce with root vegetables. An old-fashioned but oh so delicious dish, perfect for Sunday supper!
Traditional beef stew can be one of those intimidating recipes that require years of experience in the kitchen to master. I promise you won’t believe how incredibly easy it is to make this hearty beef stew.
This classic dish comes together in just over 2 hours on the hob and makes a comforting and warming dinner. Perfect for the cooler months. It stores well in the fridge and tastes even better the next day. Yes, meal prep can be that simple and delicious!
Stovetop beats oven
While cooking a beef stew in the oven is certainly convenient, the stovetop method creates a better result. It lets you adjust the temperature and consistency more accurately while cooking, creating an intensely-flavored beef stew with a perfect rich sauce, every time.
- Beef – Chuck steak is the best meat beef stew but brisket works well too. Remove any excess fat and cut it into 3x3cm cubes.
- Red wine – A full-bodied red wine works well such as Merlot or a Bordeaux blend. Add the equivalent amount of extra stock to the recipe if you prefer a beef stew without red wine.
- Beef stock – I use homemade beef stock but you can also choose vegetable or lamb stock.
- Tomatoes – A can of diced tomatoes and tomato paste give this dish richness and extra flavor. You can use fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones.
- Balsamic vinegar & brown sugar – Vinegar and sugar create depth and add sweet and savory notes to this dish. They are essential for this recipe to create a rich sauce.
- Herbs – Rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf are the classic herbs in a bouquet garni and give this dish a traditional French seasoning.
- Vegetables – A classic combination of onion, garlic, carrots, and potato feature in this recipe.
- Cornstarch – This is optional but mixed in water it can be used to tweak the consistency at the end of the cooking time.
- To prevent the stew from burning at the bottom, choose a pot with a heavy bottom or a solid Dutch oven. You will need a well-fitted lid.
- The meat needs to be submerged in the sauce during simmering to prevent it from drying out. Add additional stock if necessary.
- Check the stew every 15 minutes to start with and give it a thorough stir to ensure the temperature isn’t too high. You’re after a gentle simmer, not a boil. Switch to a smaller element or take the pot slightly off the element to reduce the heat if needed.
- If the stew has too much liquid you can remove the lid toward the end of the cooking time for it to reduce or adjust the consistency by adding cornstarch mixed with water.
This one-pot meal can be served on its own or with a side of green vegetables such as steamed broccoli or green beans.
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Easy Beef Stew (on the stovetop)
- 750 gr beef diced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 400 gr diced tomatoes equivalent of 1 can
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 2 carrots peeled and diced
- 4 potatoes peeled and diced
- 1 tbsp cornstarch optional
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the diced beef, season generously with salt and pepper, and brown the beef for 2-3 minutes evenly on high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté them for another 2-3 minutes with the diced beef.750 gr beef, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt & pepper, 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic
- Deglaze the pot with red wine, stir and let it simmer on high for 1-2 minutes for the alcohol to burn off.1/2 cup red wine
- Add beef stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, bay leaf, thyme, and rosemary. Combine everything thoroughly.1 cup beef stock, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 dried bay leaf, 400 gr diced tomatoes, 2 tbsp tomato paste, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- Reduce the heat to the lowest setting on your stove, add the lid and let it simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir the stew occasionally to ensure the bottom of the stew doesn't burn.
- Add the diced carrot and potatoes and combine everything. Let everything simmer for another 45 minutes until the carrots and potatoes are well cooked.2 carrots, 4 potatoes
- If the stew has a lot of liquid I suggest leaving the lid off for the last 45 minutes for it to reduce down and get more concentrated. Add the lid if the consistency looks good or add more stock if it's on the drier side.
- Once fully cooked, you can add 1 tbsp of cornstarch mixed in cold water to the stew to further adjust the consistency if the stew has too much liquid. Stir it in and cook for another 5-10 minutes until it thickens up. Season to taste with salt and pepper.1 tbsp cornstarch
I suggest cooking it for a minimum of 2 hours. You can cook it longer to tenderize the meat further but keep an eye on the carrots and potatoes to prevent them from turning into a mash.
You can store the stew in the fridge for 3-4 days. In fact, the flavors will intensify further over time, making it even more delicious.
Yes, you can store the stew in the freezer for up to 3 months in a freezer-proof container.
Yes, you can. I store the lidded pot straight in the fridge which makes it the easiest way to reheat this delicious stew the next day.