It’s Thursday night as I’m writing this out. What a productive day it has been. The weather was perfect for doing some work in the kitchen. So in between cleaning the bathrooms and organizing my bedroom, I decided that today would be a great day to make a hearty stew.
This blog has gone through many overhauls, but right now – I’m feeling very “nesting” and am focusing on making my home cozy for winter. I’ll be focusing on cooking, decorating and organizing – and eventually, cleaning out my closets and decluttering. Chilly fall days are perfect for all these tasks.
I spent about an hour washing my dishes and organizing my kitchen before getting started. I kind of let that slip a little. I can’t work in chaos. Then I got right down to washing all the vegetables and pre-prep for the stew. Yesterday, I got my grocery order – and stocked up on things like carrots, celery, tomatoes and more importantly, beef cubes.
One of the issues that I’ve had in the past with using beef cubes is that they always come out tough and rubbery. This time, I made sure to follow tips from several videos that I watched – and…. Oh. My. God.
This may have been the best stew I’ve EVER made.
- 1 package of stewing beef cubes
- 2 cups of carrots
- 2 cups of celery
- 2 cups of mini potatoes
- 1 cup of mushrooms
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 cup of diced or stewed tomatoes
- 1/2 small can of Hunt’s tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
- 1/3 cup of flour
- 2 cups of beef stock (or broth)
- Seasoning: salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary
There are a lot of ways to make beef stew. It’s a classic recipe that is really easy to make. There is no right or wrong way. The method I use is a combination of things I’ve learned from various chefs on YouTube. I don’t have a Dutch oven (it’s on my Amazon Wishlist though!), so this stew was cooked using the stove top. If you do have a Dutch oven, most recipes I’ve seen call for cooking the stew for 1.5 to 2 hours at 350. Slow cooking is definitely the best method for really tender beef.
For this recipe, I actually measured out all the ingredients. Normally I just toss some things in here and there. I even took a photo as evidence.
I wash all my vegetables and store them into food containers when my groceries are delivered. To go a step further, I will often pre-cut the vegetables if I know that I’m going to make a specific casserole or stew ahead of time. This is where meal planning really does help.
I find it easier to lay out all the ingredients on my counter before I start assembling the recipe. I like Rubbermaid containers – but you can use glass bowls or more environmentally friendly products.
1: Sear the beef
In a large skillet, melt the butter and add in the beef cubes. Cook on medium heat until the meat starts to turn lightly brown. Don’t cook the beef too long, or you may wind up with rubbery and tough beef. For best results, you can marinate the beef overnight before cooking. Transfer the beef into a large pot. I used my eight quart pot for this. Leave a little bit of the juice in the skillet for the next step.
Step 2: Sear the vegetables
Using the same skillet, add in the onions and minced garlic. Let simmer for about 2 minutes or until onions start to tenderize. Always cook the onions first for added flavour. Next add in the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms start to turn brown. Next up is the celery. Total cooking time – about 5 or 6 minutes for this step. Transfer the vegetables into the large pot with the beef. You’re done with the skillet now which you can set aside.
Step 3: Mix it all up and bring to a boil
Turn the burner up to medium high heat and mix the vegetables together with the beef. Next you’ll add in the carrots and potatoes. Then add the broth and seasoning to taste. Bring this all to a boil for about 1 or 2 minutes. Next you’ll add in the stewed or diced tomatoes (I used about half a can). You can use the tomato juice too for the gravy. Reduce heat, cover the pot with a lid and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Final Step: Making the roux
Next up is the roux. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, sift in the flour with the tomato paste. I added some of the gravy from the stew and mixed this up really well. Make sure to soak up all the flour. You can use some of the gravy from the pot to help with this. Use a wooden spoon to stir this into the pot and mix well. This will help thicken up the gravy and add some more flavour.
Tip: pouring flour straight into the stew will result in a big chunky mess. I learned the hard way when making creamy soup. For best results, mix the flour in with some kind of liquid base like tomato paste, milk, or water – depending on what recipe you are following.
Add spice and something nice
This is where people get creative when it comes to flavour. I’ve seen people add in some red wine, or rum, or a dark beer. I added a splash of spiced rum for something different. My gravy was a bit runny, so I added a bit more flour and tomato paste in this step. Mix really well. You’ll need a thick wooden spoon for this step.
Bring the pot to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer until vegetables are tender.
I let this cook for about 45 minutes in total and it was perfect. The only thing I would do differently is add something to offset the tomato taste. Maybe instead of a whole can of tomato paste, use half a can with some water or stock. But honestly, this is the best stew I’ve ever made!!! The meat was SO tender.
What I love doing with stews or soups, is leaving it in the pot in the fridge overnight. This helps the juices and flavour soak in all together. It’s delicious the next day!
Have you tried any of my recipes? If so, please join me on TikTok and tag me in your creation. I have a new account and am working on more recipe videos like this one. I’m also going to go back and re-cook or bake my older recipes. I’m trying a new layout for future recipes for easier reading.
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