A few times a year my Husband and I will get a craving for a good pot of beef stew. It’s one of those warm, comforting, simple dishes that bring you back to childhood. It’s also incredibly easy to make! The heat does most of the work, so it requires very little effort, and the ingredient list is as simple as the technique.
Everyone has their own little twist they love to put on a stew. I tend to take a more rustic approach with mine. I don’t buy the bags of carrots that are prewashed and peeled. I always search for the smaller, skinnier carrots that are caked in dirt and still have their stems attached. I find they’re softer, and they cook up quicker. I also never take the time to chop my vegetables into consistent little cubes. I just drop the knife, ensuring they’re all a similar size for an even cook, and then slide them into the pot.
I was excited to make stew today because I had recently received a gift from my mother and father-in-law. A beautiful cast iron pot that looks very similar to one they own. I admire it every time my mother-in-law uses it. I already owned a cast iron pot for camping, but due to its size and weight, I could never use it on our glass stovetop. This gift is an instant, and automatic, staple in our kitchen.
Served over homemade dumplings, tea biscuits, or dinner rolls, a classic beef stew is always a favourite on cold winter days. It is a perfect dish to break in our new cast iron pot.
Recipe for Classic Beef Stew:
1.5 – 2 lbs Beef (Cut Into Cubes)
3 Potatoes (Peeled & Roughly Chopped)
4 Carrots (Peeled & Roughly Chopped)
1/2 Cup Fresh Peas
2 Stalks of Celery (Roughly Diced)
1/2 White Onion (Diced)
3-4 Cloves of Garlic (Minced)
3.5 Cups of Beef Broth
1 Cup of Water
1 Handful of Fresh Parsley (Roughly Chopped)
2 Bay Leaves
1 Splash of Good Quality Red Wine
1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Thyme
1 Good Splash of Worcestershire Sauce
2-3 Teaspoons of Flour
Fresh Cracked Peppercorn
Note: I love using cast iron when I make stew. However, I have heard that cast iron isn’t safe for all glass stove top surfaces. Be sure to check before using cast iron on yours.
Instructions for Classic Beef Stew:
1: Preheat your cast iron over medium-high heat. Pat your meat dry with a paper towel, and season with kosher salt and fresh cracked peppercorn. Sear off your meat in batches. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan.
2: Once your meat has been seared off, place in a bowl and set aside. Pour red wine into your cast iron, and carefully scrape the bottom with a rubber spatula. The brown bits left behind from the searing process add a great depth of flavour to your stew! I try never to cook with wine that I wouldn’t enjoy drinking.
3: When you have finished deglazing the pan in red wine, reduce your heat to medium and drop celery, onion, and garlic into your pan. Saute for 4-5 minutes.
4: Sprinkle flour over your seared meat. Toss, ensuring an even coating. Return your beef back to the pot, and stir. Pour in beef broth, water, thyme, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and Worcestershire sauce. Cover, and reduce your heat to low. Simmer for about 2 hours, stirring often.
5: Once your beef is fork tender, add your potatoes and carrots to your stew. Stir, and increase heat to medium-low. Cover, and allow to cook for about 25 minutes.
6: Add fresh peas to your stew, and allow to simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Serve alongside fresh bread, tea biscuits, or dumplings.