How to Make the Best Beef Stew and Avoid 5 Common Mistakes
Have you made beef stew in the past and found that it just didn’t come out the way you had hoped or the way it looked in the cookbook photograph? Don’t feel bad. It happens to the best of us!
Today, I am going to help you put those less than stellar beef stews behind you. I share the 5 most common mistakes that home cooks make when it comes to beef stew. And once you avoid these 5 mistakes, you’ll make the best beef stew ever!
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The 5 Mistakes When it Comes to Beef Stew
In my recipe video, I go into detail as to what the five mistakes are when it comes to making beef stew, but I’ll quickly review them here:
- Picking the wrong cut of meat
- Not browning the meat
- Adding the vegetables too soon
- Not simmering the stew long enough
- Not serving the soup with the right accompaniment
I can’t stress enough how important each one of these is, but if I had to pick one, I would say that not browning the meat is such a common mistake! If you made beef stew in the past and instead of the stew having a rich, beautiful brown color, it more resembles a grey concrete mixture…well, you probably didn’t brown the meat. (Watch my recipe video to learn how to best brown your stew meat.)
But from now on, if you avoid that mistake, as well as the others listed earlier, you’ll make a delicious stew that friends and family alike will inhale and ask for seconds!
Choose Inexpensive Meats for a Budget-Friendly Meal
If you have been with me for a while, you know that I often talk about staying “in the budget”—specifically the grocery budget. And that is why I love making beef stew because it is such a budget-friendly meal. Why? Because the good news is that to make a great beef stew, you want to buy the cheapest cut of meat you can find. The cheapest? You heard me right!
Save your money and buy an inexpensive chuck roast (preferably bone-in if you can find it) instead of a sirloin. If you try to make a beef stew with an expensive sirloin, you will turn it into shoe leather, and your good hard-earned money will go down the drain!
But a chuck roast, which is a tough cut riddled with fat, is going to be cooked low and slow to soften the meat and melt all the fat. This process makes the most delicious beef stew since the cubes of cooked meat are going to melt in your mouth!
Add Extra Nutrition to Your Beef Stew
Here are a few options to add extra nutrition to your beef stew, depending on what ingredients you have.
Option 1: Bone-in Chuck Roast
If you are lucky enough to find a bone-in chuck roast, be sure to throw that bone into the stew as you are cooking it. The bone will add nutrition to the stew gravy.
Option 2: Beef Bone Broth
If you can’t find a bone-in chuck roast, don’t worry. Try using beef bone broth as the liquid for your stew. The bone broth will enhance the flavor, and it will increase the nutrition and digestibility of the stew, thanks to all the gelatin in the bone broth.
Option 3: Fortified Wine or Apple Cider Vinegar
If you have neither a bone nor beef bone broth on hand, you can still increase your stew’s nutrition by adding a bit of wine, fortified wine, or a touch of apple cider vinegar to your stew when you are cooking it. The acid in these liquids will help pull out the collagen in the meat and release it into the stew gravy.
Now, you might wonder why you should pull out the collagen from the meat if you are already eating the meat? Well, gelatin is cooked collagen. When cooking releases the collagen from meat and bones, it is easier for our bodies to digest the liquid collagen. This collagen (or gelatin) helps us assimilate all the nutrients in a meal when we digest our food.
When Life Gives You Bones…Make Bone Broth!
If you have a collection of beef bones, be sure to try making Beef Bone Broth. Choose the video that uses the vessel (slow cooker, stovetop, or Instant Pot) that you’d like to use to make beef bone broth:
The following videos help you learn more about the best bones for making beef bone broth and why gelatinous bone broth is so important.
You can even dehydrate your bone broth, if you are tight on space or if you’d like to create a shelf-stable bone broth that you can store in your extended pantry. (Not sure what else to include in your pantry? Be sure to download my free 36-page pantry list.)
And if you’re a member of our Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy, watch this video for a complete bone broth class. (The link also includes information on how you can become a Kitchen Pioneer.)
US Wellness Meats Discount Code
If you can’t find the cuts of meat that you want from your local grocery store or if you’re looking for particular bones to make a gelatinous beef bone broth, check out US Wellness Meats to get beef, poultry, pork, and other meats to create a nutrient-dense meal for you and your family.
Use promocode MARYNEST and my US Wellness Meats link to save 15% off regular-priced items in your order.
Curious how US Wellness Meats packs their orders? Watch the following unboxing video to see the items that I purchased from them.
More Dinner Recipes
Ready for more dinner recipes perfect for these cooler months? Be sure to watch the following recipe videos to learn how to make wonderful comfort food dishes.
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- Large Dutch Oven
- 1/2 cup Beef tallow You can use another fat, including butter, ghee, or a combination of butter and olive oil.
- 2 pounds Chuck meat, cut into approximately 1" cubes
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black pepper
- 1/2 cup All-purpose flour (See ingredients below for the additional flour that you will need.) Use Wondra flour, if available.
- 1 cup Wine, fortified wine, or 1/2 apple juice and 1/2 water mixed, or water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 8 cups Beef bone broth Substitutions include beef broth or water.
- 4 Bay leaves
- 1 1/2 pounds Baby potatoes If using larger potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces.
- 1 1/2 pounds Baby carrots or carrots that have been cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 1/2 pounds Button mushrooms, sliced You can substitute canned mushrooms, but add them toward the end of the cooking time simply to warm through.
- 1 1/2 pounds Frozen, pearl onions, thawed If using large onions, peel and quarter and add to the mixture when adding the carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms.
- 1 pound Frozen green peas, thawed
- 1 bunch Flat leaf parsley, optional
- 1 tbsp All-purpose flour Used for thickening the stew.
- 1 tbsp Butter Used for thickening the stew.
- 1 package Egg noodles, cooked according to package directions. Optional. Sourdough bread is another option for serving with the stew.
- Season flour with salt and pepper in a large bowl.
- Dust each cube of meat thoroughly with the seasoned flour. Set aside.
- Melt beef tallow or another fat in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Brown the meat in the fat. This process will take approximately 2-3 minutes until the cubes take on a golden brown color. (See video.) Do this in batches. Do not crowd the meat.
- Once all the meat is browned, return all the browned meat to the Dutch oven and pour in the wine, fortified wine, juice, or vinegar water. (See the list of ingredients.) Deglaze the bottom of the Dutch oven.
- Next, add the bone broth, broth, or water to the Dutch oven. Also, add in the bay leaves. Stir well and bring the mixture up to a boil. Cover the Dutch oven and turn the heat down to low and allow the meat to simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
- After 1 1/2 hours, remove the lid from the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms to the Dutch oven. Stir well.
- If you are using large onions that have been quartered instead of pearl onions, add these to the mixture at the same time you add the carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms.
- Bring the mixture up to a boil, and return the lid to the Dutch oven. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and allow the mixture to simmer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes of allowing the vegetables to simmer along with the meat, remove the lid from the Dutch oven.
- Mix the 1 tablespoon of flour with the butter to form a ball. Add this ball to the stew and raise the heat to bring the mixture up to a boil, stirring constantly as the ball melts and thickens the stew. (See video.)
- Once the stew has thickened, lower the heat to medium and add the pearl onions and the peas. Stir well. The stew is done once the onions and peas are warmed through.
- Once warmed, the stew is ready to serve. If you want, place the egg noodles in a bowl and ladle the stew on top of the egg noodles. Top with a bit of chopped fresh parsley. Alternatively, you could serve the stew with thick slices of sourdough bread.
- Leftovers will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or up to 3 months in the freezer.
Shop for items used in this blog post or video
Favorite Kitchen Supplies
- Favorite Aprons
- Silica Gel Packets (Helps keep moisture from building up in your mix)
- Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- 8-Quart Slow-Cooker
- Fat Separator (Clever kitchen device to help you decant bone broth)
- Flour Sack Towels
- Masontops Fermentation Kit (promo code below)
- Mockmill Grain Grinder and Whole Grains (promo code below)
Use promo code MARYSNST for a one-time 15% off Masontops and Breadsmart products on Amazon.com.
Use my Mockmill affiliate link for a special one-time 5% discount on Mockmill Stone Grain Mill products, including Ancient Grains, like Einkorn, Emmer, and Spelt. (The Mockmill discount will appear when you checkout.)
Amazon Shop and Shopping Guide
- Visit Mary’s Nest Amazon Shop
- Visit my Shopping Guide page
Learn where I buy my beef bones, electric grain mills, sprouted grains, and more…and get special discounts for Mary’s Nest visitors, including from US Wellness Meats, Mockmill, Masontops, and Cultures for Health.
**Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, a medical professional, a dietician, or a nutritionist. All content found on the MarysNest.com website, including text, images, videos, eBooks or eGuides, social media, or other formats, were created solely for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or proper nutritional advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have watched in a video or read on this website. Use caution when following the recipe in this video. The creator and publisher of this video and website will not be held responsible for any adverse effects that may arise from the use of this recipe and method or any other recipe and method on this website or corresponding video channel.