Classic Beef Stew with Root Vegetables

A simple, classic beef stew with root vegetables, full of flavour and served up family style.

This dish really needs very little introduction. It’s a big pot of comforting beef stew, featuring a good balance of meat and vegetables.

Two cookbooks and a decade of recipe writing, I’ve never shared a beef stew recipe. Why now? Because my children are asking for my method and I’m finally putting it down in writing.

Stew should be simple, and this one is just that, with a whole lot of well-rounded flavour.

This winter, my children have been leaning hard into beef stew. Maybe it’s because we’re eating less meat, so when it shows up at the table, there’s a greater appreciation?

Perhaps the fact that my teen/tweens are growing like crazy, and that influences the speed with which they clean their bowls. Either way, when they walk in the door from school and smell a beef stew in the oven, there are a few whoops.

And so at their request, I measure and scratch down notes as I cook. I estimate cooking times and I write this recipe for them, and for you.

Classic Beef Stew with Root Vegetables

I’ve always thrown a beef stew together by feel: season, flour and brown the meat. Add vegetables and aromatics. Cover with stock. Simmer on the stove or in the oven until tender. Season again and serve.

This beef stew isn’t much more complicated than that. The ingredients and method may seem long at first, but once you make the recipe a few times, you’ll soon be cooking it by feel, too.

Who doesn’t love a recipe that is easily adaptable? I make many variations on this stew, featuring moose meat, venison or lamb. And around March 17, I’ll make it with Guinness instead of red wine.

Feel free to use up any root vegetables you have on hand. I adore parsnip in my stew, but buttery rutabaga is our family favourite.

Sides for Stew: Serve the stew with Cheesy Irish Soda Scones or a crusty baguette. Our ultimate comfort food meal is a pot of beef stew with a side of the best mashed potatoes.

Do Ahead Tip: This stew is even better on the second day, so consider making it in advance. It’s perfect for entertaining a crowd and scales up in batches very well.

Slow Cooker: And because I know people are going to ask, yes, you could make the beef stew in a slow cooker. However, since I already dirty a pot for searing, I’m going to finish it in the oven in the same pot.

Classic Beef Stew with Root Vegetables

A simple, classic beef stew with root vegetables, full of flavour and served up family style.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 307kcal
Author: Aimee

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beef stew meat
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • fine sea salt
  • black pepper freshly ground
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons salted butter
  • 3 cups beef stock divided
  • 1/3 cup red wine or beer (optional)
  • 6 French shallots peeled and halved
  • 2 small onions peeled, cut into 8
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon, dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary crumbled
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb rutabaga peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 3 medium carrots peeled and cut into coins
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 275°F. Adjust oven rack to bottom third so that your pot and lid fit easily. Have your vegetables prepped and ready to go.
  • Place the beef on a tray. Pat the beef dry with a clean kitchen rag or paper towel. Stir in 1 teaspoon each fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to the flour. Sprinkle 4 Tablespoons of seasoned flour over the beef. Using clean hands or tongs, toss the beef thoroughly in the flour, making sure it is well-coated.
  • Over medium heat, melt 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon butter together in a large Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid. (I usually use an Le Creuset enameled cast iron 3.5 qt braiser.) When the butter is bubbling, add half the beef and brown the meat all over, turning each piece with tongs. It should sizzle when added.
  • When the beef is browned on all sides, transfer it to a clean bowl. Pour about 1/2 cup of beef stock into the pan to deglaze; scrape the bottom with a firm rubber spatula to get up all the browned bits. Pour this gravy over the browned beef.
  • Set the pan back over medium heat. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with remaining beef, this time, deglazing with the red wine. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Over medium heat, melt together the final teaspoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in the pot. Tumble in the shallots and onion. Sauté for 2 minutes. Sprinkle over the dried herbs and garlic; add the rutabaga, carrots as well. Saute for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables have softened around the edges. Sprinkle remaining seasoned flour over the vegetables (about 2 Tablespoons) and stir well to coat. Cook for about a minute, then pour in the remaining beef stock. Scrape the bottom well.
  • Return the beef and all juices to the pot. Add Dijon and Worchestershire. Stir well. The stock should just barely cover the meat and vegetables. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven.
  • Slow braise the stew for 3 hours. Remove the lid and cook for an additional hour. Allow the stew to cool for about 15 minutes before serving. It will thicken slightly as it cools. Season generously with additional salt and pepper, tasting each time.
  • Serve with crusty bread and butter or a mountain of mashed potatoes.

Notes

Tips: brown the beef well. Don’t overcrowd it. This is where you are building flavour, and it’s worth taking the time to brown the beef on all sides.
Wine is optional; you can deglaze with stock, but it adds flavour. Could also use beer or a strong apple cider.
For an extra decadent stew, swirl in 2 tablespoons butter when the dish comes out of the oven.

Nutrition

Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 340mg | Potassium: 858mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 3880IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 4mg
About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I used to love beef stew growing up, like your kids I’d just inhale it! This looks lovely, and great for this time of year for sure!

  2. Sarah Brouwer says

    Thank you for sharing! I’ve been searching for a good beef stew recipe! This couldn’t come at a better time.

  3. Aimee I love to add the purple daikon radish to beef stew as well. So yummy cooked this way.

    Your recipe looks delicious too.

  4. How nice to see a beef stew recipe from you in my inbox! I haven’t been terribly happy lately with the recipe I’ve used for years. Can’t wait to give it a try. My family doesn’t particularly care for the carrots after they’ve been cooked, though I’d rather not leave them out because of the flavor they add. Any suggestions?

    • Maybe cut them in large pieces rather than coins, almost like carrot sticks? Then they would impart their flavour while cooking but would be easy to avoid when dishing up the stew. This is what I do with celery in my stews and soups because the flavour is not the same without it, but the rest of my family doesn’t like the texture.

  5. 5 stars
    Yummy!
    Thanks for the amazing recipe. I made this dish exactly how you explained here and it turned out to be so tasty. My family enjoyed it so much and I got too many praises for this, all thanks to you. <3

  6. Hi, don’t have red wine but I do have red wine vinegar, can I somehow substitute that in this recipe?

    Thanks,
    Helen

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