This oh-so-southern Thick and Hearty Beef Stew recipe is richly flavored with the addition of both dry red wine and whole grain mustard.
With gratitude and appreciation, this recipe modified from a Southern Living Magazine original recipe!
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Farm to Table Thick and Hearty Beef Stew Recipe
You’ll soon be thanking me for sharing this salubrious recipe for a one pot thick beef stew, made mouthwateringly wonderful with the addition of a couple of keen ingredients. Today’s rock stars are dry red wine and whole grain mustard.
I’m not exaggerating when I make the statement that this is THE BEST BEEF STEW RECIPE you will ever create in your home kitchen. Yes, some of the familiars are still topping the ingredient list such as rich beef broth, fresh vegetables, and tender chunks of beef.
A few typical beef stew ingredients however are conspicuously missing from the list like tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaf. Notice I said ‘missing’ but surprisingly not ‘missed.’
No, no… this big old batch of comfort food isn’t missing anything, to the point of next day leftovers being fought over. Seriously, you wait and see.
Leave the crock pot in the cupboard and put away the instant pot because this recipe goes at it old school using a large Dutch oven. Don’t worry, we’re talking one large pot, and hey, there’s always a next time for that instant pot…
Do You Have What’s Needed to Assemble This Thick Beef Stew Recipe? Check The List!
- high quality beef chuck roast
- black pepper
- Kosher salt
- canola oil or olive oil
- large fresh carrots
- large yellow onions
- fresh garlic cloves
- dry red wine
- all-purpose flour
- beef broth
- baby new potatoes
- whole grain mustard
- red wine vinegar
- fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
How This Recipe Came About…
Would it surprise you to learn I am only a recent stew convert? I swear it’s true. I generally go out of my way to avoid the stuff.
The idea of slow cooker beef stew never appealed to me. Mainly because of the stringy gray meat that always seems to emerge from the bottom of the pot, I guess. Nope, not for me.
There was a slew of super cold nights this spring however, where a warm bowl of something seemed appropriate. Flipping through recipes in Southern Living Magazine led me to this one.
I guess you could say that I was open minded enough to this easy recipe on a very cold night. Glad for it though, because I have since prepared this at least three times.
As for beef stew recipes, red wine is an ingredient I find interesting. It’s so often used to enhance the meat, but in this method, it enhances what becomes the fond after the meat has already been seared.
The liveners that flavor the finished stew at the very end are a splash of red wine vinegar for brightness and a lovely and briny whole grain mustard which offer surprising depth of flavor. An almost earthiness.
How Do You Thicken and Add Flavor to Beef Stew?
In this farm to table southern beef stew recipe, a slurry is used to thicken the mixture. A slurry is a combination of a thickening agent and hot or cold liquid.
In the case of this recipe, all-purpose flour is added to just about a half a cup of beef broth, whisked until smooth, and poured into what remains of a heavily reduced red wine deglaze. The flour mixture combined with the concentrated components are enough to delight the senses without even tasting the product.
Which leads me to explain flavoring a stew. The beef in this case is seared over medium-high heat, browning it and allowing a lovely crust to form over the bottom of the pot.
Sweet carrots, savory onions, and pungent garlic follow, all leaving a bit of themselves behind as they soften and begin to brown on the bottom of the pot. All of that browned crust and tiny sizzled bits are where the flavor lies.
In a singular action known as deglazing, a flavorful liquid is used to instantly soften that browned crust on the bottom of the pan. Over medium heat, it is just enough to where a wooden spoon can work the browned bits or ‘fond’ into the liquid yielding a velvety rich concentrated broth or as I like to call it, pot liquor.
Further reduction of that pot liquor to an almost syrupy consistency proves irresistible to our palettes. Once all of the ingredients marry under the concentrated veil of this pot liquor, very good and very yummy things happen…
How Do You Add Richness to Beef Stew?
So, that last ingredient on the list above isn’t because it’s going to be used to garnish. No sir. For this dish, 1/4 cup of fresh flat leaf parsley is required for the final act.
Finishing any dish with herbs adds levels of flavor unachievable in other ways. In the case of this recipe, the fresh parsley leaves play off bright red wine vinegar and whole grain mustard, all three added moments prior to serving.
What Cut of Beef Should I Use in Beef Stew?
I get that stew isn’t necessarily meant to begin with a high grade cut of meat. But like anything else, it should ALWAYS be the best that you can get your hands on and afford.
For this recipe, search out a 1 1/2-to-2-pound beef chuck roast. TRIM IT WELL before cutting it into 3/4-inch cubes.
You should end up in the vicinity of about a pound to a pound and a quarter of trimmed beef cubes for this stew. Ending up with a little more is fine.
There are those who will ask me about ready-trimmed and ready-cubed ‘stew meat’ available from their butcher. This is fine to use, but I am still going to tell you why I do not.
With a roast, you have the ability to trim less than desirable pieces from the end product. Those scraps however are immeasurably useful at yielding additional fond and flavor.
After I have trimmed, I generally try to start browning a little bit of those ‘scraps’ before I begin searing my beef cubes. The flavor is none the less, and the more fond which is able to accumulate is all the tastier at the end.
Stop for a moment and really study my photos. You are not seeing a bunch of collective fat pooling, are you? Again, scraps are used to increase the fond, enhancing the final product, so do not stress that you’re adding more fat or grease because you simply are not.
Old-fashioned recipes exploit the resources to the fullest! Simply sear the scraps up and use a slotted spoon to remove them leaving all of their browned bits of beefy goodness behind. An extra step yes, but well worth the effort.
How to Make This Thick Beef Stew Recipe?
Searing the Beef
About 1 hour before cooking, sprinkle the prepared chuck roast pieces with Kosher salt and black pepper. Allow it to stand at room temperature while you peel the onions and scrub the potatoes.
In a large Dutch oven, heat some oil over medium-high heat to the point where the oil is shimmering. I like canola oil for this because its smoke point is much lower than olive oil, but use olive oil if it’s your preference.
Add the seasoned beef to the pot in a single layer and allow each side to sear for a couple of minutes before turning to sear another side. You want the meat well browned and given a nice sear.
If using scraps to increase the amount of fond and add tons of flavor, sear those scraps first before searing the stew meat. Simple steps that yield the perfect beef stew.
Remove scraps to the side and discard and remove the tender beef stew meat to a plate and set aside. Check out the bottom of your pot. Looks burned, right? NOT! Soooo much flavor!
Vegetables Make Their Debut
Lower the heat to medium and toss the carrots and the onions into the pot. Begin to cook them until they soften slightly, about 4 to 6 minutes. In goes the fresh garlic to cook for only about a minute.
Measure out a full cup of a good, full bodied dry red wine, something you’d not only cook with, but would also drink. Add the red wine to the pot. For that matter, pour yourself a glass.
Cook at a slow simmer for 10 to 12 minutes by which time the red wine should nearly be evaporated. You should also be working the fond beneath the wine with a wooden spoon.
Scrape and stir to loosen and unlock all of that flavor left behind by way of the browned bits from the beef and the vegetables. The rich sauce this fond combined with the wine produces is like no other, so really work it.
The Magic of a Slurry
Whisk together a bit of all-purpose flour with some beef stock until it’s super smooth. Sometimes I microwave the beef stock for a minute to warm it enough to where the flour whisks in easily and free of lumps. Your choice.
If you do not have flour, use corn starch but only a tablespoon or so. Cornstarch has twice the thickening properties of flour and is tasteless, however tends to become slimy if too much is used, so go easy.
Turn the temperature to low heat. Pour the flour and stock mixture into the nearly evaporated and highly concentrated wine mixture dwindling in the bottom of the Dutch oven.
Add the beef and all of the accumulated beef juices back into the pot along with some Kosher salt and the remaining beef stock. Bring everything to a boil.
Simmering Good Things Like a Rich Gravy
Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot after one additional good stir. Simmer for 45 minutes then add in the potatoes and re-cover and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about another 20 minutes.
Remove the Dutch oven from the heat. Stir in a good quality red wine vinegar, some thick and briny whole grain mustard, and freshly chopped parsley and stir well to combine.
It’s at this point that I like to allow the pot to stand for 5 minutes before ladling into bowls. Choose to serve your stew with creamy potatoes, mashed turnips, or with warm yeast rolls right out of the oven.
Modifying the Norm to Make It Not Entirely Average
Not a classic beef stew recipe without green beans? Add them in. Prefer baby red potatoes over baby white potatoes? Replace them.
There are no real ‘rules’ per se when it comes to what kind of vegetables are working in this recipe. If russet potatoes are all you’ve got, peel and chunk them and add into the stew for at least 40 to 45 minutes, as the cooking time to cook them properly is entirely different.
Personally, I leave the russets for mashed potatoes, something I always still serve alongside this stew despite there being potatoes already in the stew. I also bake a batch of the French bread rolls pictured herein; my rendition of Devilish Butlers appropriately named due to the silly ‘horns’ flanking their tops.
Can Thick Beef Stew Be Made Ahead?
Yes, and I prefer to make it ahead and reheat it in the Dutch oven the next day. The flavor is maximized I suppose after the cooking and cooling and subsequent reheating. The taste, exhilarating.
Prepare this thick beef stew recipe ahead by up to three days and store in the Dutch oven in the refrigerator or in individual airtight containers until ready to consume.
Reheat atop the stove directly in the Dutch oven, thinning with beef broth, if necessary, until heated through. Individual portions may be microwaved on medium power in microwave-safe bowls for 1 to 3 minutes or until hot.
Can Thick Beef Stew Be Frozen?
Yes, and it freezes very, very well. Simply ladle into airtight containers and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat individual portions atop the stove or via the microwave.
What To Serve with A Thick Beef Stew?
For this dish, focus on serving foods that can be helpful in mopping up all of that golden brown gravy. As I mentioned above, I love a warm French bread roll like my Devilish Butlers pictured.
Warm with a spot of salted butter, nothing beats the bread for getting the last of that flavorful sauce up off the bottom of your bowl. Find the full recipe for Devilish Butlers here.
If mashed potatoes are more your style, whip up a batch with a bit of butter and black pepper. I truly do enjoy mashed turnips with this thick beef stew recipe as well.
If You Like This Recipe…
…you might also like:
- How To Make the Best Damn Wagyu Meatloaf
- Cast Iron Ribeye with Shiitake and Shallot
- Fork Tender Beef Tips in An Outstanding Herb Pan Sauce
- Robust Irish Beef and Stout Stew
Farm to Table Thick and Hearty Beef Stew Recipe
- large Dutch oven
- 1 1/2 to 2 pound beef chuck roast trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes, about 1 to 1 1/4-pounds meat
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt divided
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 large carrots fresh; peeled and cut diagonally into 1 1/2-inch segments
- 2 large yellow onions fresh; cut into 12 wedges each
- 6 cloves garlic fresh; rough chopped
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups beef broth
- 12 ounces baby new potatoes scrubbed, dried, and halved if large
- 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves fresh; tightly packed and chopped; 3 teaspoons reserved
- 1 hour before cooking, sprinkle the prepared chuck roast pieces with 1 teaspoon Kosher salt and black pepper. Allow it to stand at room temperature while you peel the onions, scrub the potatoes, and prepare a large Dutch oven by adding 1 tablespoon of canola oil.
- Heat the Dutch oven to the point where the oil is shimmering. Add the seasoned beef to the pot in a single layer and allow each side to sear for a couple of minutes before turning to sear another side. You want the meat well browned. Remove the tender beef stew meat to a plate and set aside. NOTE if you have less than desireable scraps from trimming the roast, use their flavor to your advantage and brown them, builing additional fond in the bottom of the Dutch oven. Simply sear the scraps and use a slotted spoon to remove them leaving all of their browned bits and beefy goodness behind. An extra step yes, but well worth the effort. Discard the scraps after browning and continue with searing the stew meat.
- Lower the heat to medium and toss the carrots and the onions into the pot. Begin to cook them until they soften slightly, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Add the red wine to the pot. Cook at a slow simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, all the while scraping and stirring the bottom of the pot to loosen the browned and sizzled bits of fond. The red wine should be heavily reduced by a bit more than half.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup of the beef stock until it's super smooth. I microwave the broth for 1 minute so the flour whisks easily and is free of lumps.
- Turn the temperature to low heat and pour the flour and stock mixture into the highly concentrated wine mixture in the bottom of the Dutch oven. Add the beef and all of the accumulated beef juices back into the pot along with the remaining teaspoon of Kosher salt and the remaining 3 1/2 cups of beef stock. Bring everything to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot after one additional good stir. Simmer for 45 minutes then add in the potatoes and re-cover and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about another 20 minutes. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat. Stir in a good quality red wine vinegar, some thick and briny whole grain mustard, and all but 3 teaspoons of the freshly chopped parsley and stir well to combine.
- Allow the pot to stand for 5 minutes before ladling into bowls. Garnish with the reserves 3 teaspoons of chopped fresh parsley. Serve piping hot with fresh bread or yeast rolls and glasses of the remaining red wine as a perfect beverage pairing.
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