Basic Beef Stew

A hearty classic that's so simple to do. This is the basic dish that has no real rules or restrictions. I recommend trying this first before doing a Daube or someone's "Boeuf Bourguignon." It'll give you the confidence to try those other dishes, and you'll see what mostly sets these great stews apart is the seasoning and a few ingredients!


Almost any kind of stew meat cubed will do.

Garlic, shallots (or onions), celery, carrots, (and leeks?) potatoes and mushrooms.

Red wine, white wine, water or a combination. (More wine for a richer stronger dish, water for a lighter dish.)

A little flour is optional.

Seasonings - Rick's Chef Salt, Herbs de Provence, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. (Other seasonings could be parsley, Italian Herbs, summer savory, sage, chervil and there's many more.)

To make:

Start some fat (animal, butter) or oil in a dutch oven like pan.

Rough chop the garlic, shallots (or onions), celery, carrots, (and leeks?) and either half or quarter some mushrooms so they are about the same size as your other chopped vegetables.

Brown the vegetables in the pan (see why in video below). Add the cubed stew meat (if you want to use a little flour for a thicker sauce, coat the meat before adding), and then add your choice of seasonings. Stir and add the wine and or water. Bring to a boil and then bake open top (no lid) in a 350° oven. Stir at the first hour and check liquid (add more if needed.) Check again at second hour (because it's a cheap cut of beef that needs a little more cooking time we're checking it at the 2 1/2 hour mark.) This time taste and adjust seasonings and make sure it's not drying out (if it is just add some water.) Most meats will need a third, and maybe a fourth hour to be tender. Add cube potatoes and cook 1/2 hour to 45 minutes or until they are tender. Taste and season again. More often than not this dish is even better when done ahead and reheated!

End Note

You can do the same with most any kind of meat; lamb, veal, bison, even cubed chicken meat. The only difference would be that meats like veal and chicken would require less cooking time.

Video on Vimeo!

©2012 Rick and Diana Boufford & The Black Sheep Cooking Club
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