Classic beef stew, but better!!! Actually, the best beef stew recipe you’ll ever make! Bold statement, I know. But the secret ingredient is a game changer here! It adds an amazing depth of flavor that will have you come back to the pot again and again.
No tomato paste, no wine necessary for this hearty and rich beef stew.
I’m married to a 3rd generation rancher. My husband practically grew up on beef stew, yet here I am trying to impress him with a pot of stew.
While I didn’t grow up eating traditional beef stew, after years of trial and error, let’s just say I cracked the code to a deliciously hearty stew. And yes, my husband agrees!
Can you believe this rich gravy has no tomato sauce/paste, or wine? Yet it has an incredible depth of flavor, rich and beefy. Comfort in a bowl!!
This recipe has been our family favorite for years now. And here’s the secret ingredient: porcini powder.
WHAT IS PORCINI POWDER?
Porcini powder is basically a ground version of dried porcini mushroom.
Porcini mushrooms, in particular, have stronger flavor compared to regular mushrooms, say white button mushrooms. Its earthy and slightly nutty taste adds that addicting umami flavor to anything it touches.
How to use porcini powder:
Porcini powder is SO versatile! You can literally add it to any dishes that you’d like to add a little more savoriness!
- Mix it up with salt and/or other seasonings to make your very own signature seasoning.
- Sprinkle a little bit on your eggs, omelette for a little oomph.
- Add it to any kind of stews, not just beef stew!
Here’s how I make a homemade porcini powder.
- Buy a bag of dried porcini mushrooms.
- Process them in a coffee grinder until nice and fine.
It’s that magic ingredient that enhances beefy flavor of the stew. Now that we know the secret ingredients, let’s cook some delicious stew!
BEEF STEW INGREDIENTS:
Aside from the secret ingredient (above), this beef stew recipe requires pretty basic ingredients.
Let me share if you notes on some these ingredients:
- Beef – I prefer to use chuck roast to make beef stew over stew meat for better flavor.
- Vegetables – Any root vegetable is great for beef stew. Omit potatoes, if you’re making a big batch and planning to freeze. Carrots are staple in our family, but here’re other root vegetables you could include: rutabaga, turnips.
- Flour – It’s my go-to thickening agent for stews. Sautéing the meat with flour and seasoning removes raw flour taste and makes the gravy nice and flavorful.
- Seasonings – Garlic, onion, fresh herbs and bay leaf are all here to add great flavors. We don’t consume much onion due to personal reasons, so often times I don’t add onions and we don’t miss it.
- Balsamic vinegar – A splash of vinegar brightens the flavors in this rich beef stew. Because we aren’t using wine here, it’s important to add a little vinegar!
- Liquids – While you can use water, I find beef broth or even chicken stock adds great flavor. Instead of using rich bone broth, I simply opt for beef stock base, like Better than Bouillion.
HOW TO MAKE BEST BEEF STEW RECIPE:
- Brown the meat in a few batches to develop a nice sear in a large Dutch oven.
- Then add all the meat back into the pot and sauté for a minute or two with flour and the seasonings.
- Pour in beef stock, cover the pot and place it in a preheated oven for 1 hour.
- Stir in vegetables and cook for another 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
3 TIPS FOR BETTER BEEF STEW:
- Choose chuck roast over stew meat and cut into 1-inch cubes.
- Cook the meat first for an hour, before adding vegetables. That way, you’ll get melt-in-your-mouth tender meat without overly mushy vegetables.
- Beef stew is always best the next day! So make a big batch.
- TIP: Skip cubed potatoes and you can even freeze your beef stew. Simply serve it over mashed potatoes for that amazing meat-and-potato comfort meal!
WHAT TO SERVE BEEF STEW:
We all get bored with the same old, same old. And it’s good to change things up from time to time. So here’re some ideas for you to serve beef stew without the feeling like in a rut:
Serve your beef stew with:
- Barley – here’s a great tutorial on how to cook hulled barley!
- Mashed potatoes – my roast garlic mashed potatoes are the best.
- Creamy polenta is a great gluten-free whole grain side dish.
- And crusty homemade French bread to soak up all the gravy!
The BEST Beef Stew
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or any kind of oil
- 2 lbs 1kg chuck roast, cut into 1-1.5inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons porcini powder Note 1
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups 480ml beef stock, or water, or combination of two (Note 2)
- 4 large carrots peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped, optional
- 5-7 garlic cloves smashed
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- 2-3 fresh thyme sprigs ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Heat a large Dutch oven (I used 5qt pot) over medium high heat. Then add oil.
- When oil is shimmering hot, working in batches, add beef chunks in one layer and brown the meat on all sides, 3-4 minutes, removing the seared meat onto a clean plate and continuing with the remaining beef.
- Once all the beef is browned, return all the meat back into pot.
- Add porcini powder, flour, salt and pepper. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes.
- Pour in the stock.
- Using a wooden spoon, deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom of the pan.
- Cover the pot and place it in the oven. Cook for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, chop the carrots and onion, if using.
- Now, add carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaf and thyme.
- Add balsamic vinegar and mix everything well.
- Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
- Garnish with fresh thyme, if desired, and serve along with bread to soak up all the gravy. You can also serve the stew over mashed potatoes, polenta, or barley.