A steaming bowl of beef stew with root vegetables and a rich flavor base made from well browned meat and aromatic red wine is classic comfort food.
One of those go to recipes on a lazy weekend when you have a little energy for prep in the morning and then let things simmer away while you do your thing all afternoon.
After a wintery day outside, a spoonful of this will warm you up.
I made this beef stew in the oven using my 3 L dutch oven – a cast iron coated pot with an enamel finish. The beauty of this type of heavy cast iron pot with a tight fitting lid is that it distributes and holds heat very well. You can use it on the stove top to sear meat, then transfer it to the oven with a tight lid to stew for hours. Ideally, a 5 or 6 L pot would have been better for this recipe – but hey, you gotta make do with what you got. I just had to stir carefully and ensure my stew wasn’t boiling over – which would have meant my heat was too high anyway. It all worked out, just fine.
How To Get Dark Brown Stew?
The dark brown colour comes from braising the meat well, using red wine and beef broth and not squishing the veggies or thickening with flour or cornstarch. Using soy sauce instead of salt can also deepen the colour of your stew.
But don’t get hung up on appearances – more important than the colour is flavour. Adjust for flavour and the colour won’t matter to anyone!
How to Thicken Stew?
If you want to thicken your stew, here are some options. Most of these will lighten the colour of your stew.
- Flour or Cornstarch – Mix a small amount of cold water with flour or cornstarch in a separate bowl. Slowly stir into hot stew and bring to boil to activate the thickening power of starch. Once it’s thick and creamy, return to simmer. Try 1 Tbsp flour/cornstarch in 2 Tbsp cold water.
- Potatoes & Starchy Veggies – Remove some of the potatoes and liquid from the stew and puree them with an immersion blender until smooth and thick. Stir back into stew. For a more casual approach, squish some of the potatoes against the side of the pot so they soak up some more of the broth.
- Beurre Manié (kneaded butter) – Mix equal parts flour and butter into a thick paste. Whisk little bits into the simmering stew a little at a time allowing it to boil and thicken before adding more. Add as much as you need for the desired thickness.
Recipe for Beef Stew Oven Roasted
Beef Stew with Red Wine in a Dutch Oven
- 2 lbs beef cut into 1 1/2″ pieces chuck or round roasts
- 1-2 Tbsp cajun seasoning
- 2-3 Tbsp flour
- 2-4 Tbsp canola oil as needed
- 1 onion sliced
- 2 stalks celery sliced
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 3/4 cup red wine
- 6 cups beef broth divided
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 3 carrots diced
- 3 potatoes diced
- 2 parsnips diced(optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp parsley chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Season beef cubes on all sides with cajun seasoning.
- Dredge beef in flour, shaking off excess.
- Heat a dutch oven or heavy pot over medium high heat for 1 minute. Add 2 Tbsp canola oil and heat for 1 minute.
- Brown beef on all sides in hot pan. For best results, do this in two or three batches. Remove finished beef before adding more beef and oil as needed.
- Remove all beef from pan. Reduce heat to medium. If needed, add more oil then sauté onions and celery until soft but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Stir in tomato paste. Add red wine to deglaze pan and thin out tomato paste. Stir to get all those tasty caramelized brown bits from the pan. Add 4 cups broth, Worcestershire, bay leaves, rosemary and paprika.
- Return beef and any juices that have collected to pan. Mix well.
- Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours to get beautiful tender meat.
- Add potatoes, carrots and parsnips (if using) to stew. Cover, return to oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
- Remove from oven, taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Add any frozen or leftover veggies or sauces (salsa, marinara sauce, etc.) you may have in the fridge.
- Let rest for 10 minutes before serving, garnish with parsley.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
What to serve with Beef Stew?
Soups and stews are perfect excuses to make delicious homemade biscuits, breads or buns. I made these soft 50/50 whole wheat buns to go with our pot of stew.
Can you make this beef stew in a slow cooker?
Sure you can. I highly recommend that you brown your meat and deglaze the pan with the red wine before you add it to the crock pot. It’s an optional step but it will go a long way to adding to that deep rich color and flavor. Also, when making it in a slow cooker, add all the veggies to the bottom of the crock pot, underneath the meat. In the slow cooker, veggies actually take longer to cook than the meat, so they do better on the bottom where they get the most heat. Cook it 5-6 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
Ready to make your own pot of beef stew? If you do, please take a photo and share it with me by tagging @getgettys on Instagram. Or leave a comment and let me know how it went.
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.