When chilly weather starts to creep in, there’s only one food that can really warm my bones: a hearty and flavor-packed beef stew. Pair a big bowl of it with a slice or two of buttered homemade bread and I’m as cozy as can be.
My go-to is Taste of Home’s Deputy Editor, James Schend’s, beef stew recipe, which is hands-down the best beef stew I’ve ever had. Its complex flavor comes from the recipe’s use of paprika, rosemary and herbes de Provence. The stew isn’t too heavy, either. James’ secret ingredient is a splash of balsamic vinegar that brightens up the dish.
Keep reading to get James’ Best Beef Stew recipes, plus some tips from the Deputy Editor himself!
How to Make the Best Beef Stew
- 1-1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, divided
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cups cubed peeled potatoes
- 3 cups coarsely chopped onions (about 2 large)
- 2 cups sliced carrots
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
Yield: 6 servings
Step 1: Prep the beef
First, in a small bowl, toss your beef with ¼ teaspoon of salt. In a large bowl, combine 4 tablespoons of flour with the smoked paprika, then add a few pieces of beef in, turning until they’re lightly coated.
Tip from James: “Coating your beef in paprika-spiced flour adds a delicious smoky flavor and caramelization that really gives the meat some depth.”
Step 2: Get cookin’
In a Dutch oven over medium heat, brown your coated beef in oil until it starts to get some color. By the way, have you checked out our gorgeous line of cook and bakeware yet?
Next, stir in the tomato paste, herbes de Provence and garlic, stirring until they’ve darkened in color and have become fragrant. Pour in the wine and let the pot come to a slight boil, making sure to scrape up all the bits and pieces that have crusted to the bottom of the Dutch oven. They have tons of flavor!
Once the wine has reduced by half (which should take about 5 minutes) add the beef broth, 1 teaspoon of rosemary and bay leaves, then let it all come to a boil. Cut the heat, cover your Dutch oven and let the stew simmer until the meat is almost tender, about an hour and a half.
Tips from James: “I love Cento’s tomato paste in a tube because you can squeeze out only as much as you need and seal it back up for future use. No wasted leftovers!”
“Herbs de Provence is a unique blend that typically contains rosemary, thyme, oregano and lavender. It really elevates this stew.”
Step 3: Veg it out
Drop in your potatoes, onions and carrots in the stew, then let them simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the veggies and meat are tender.
Tip from James: “While the recipe calls for potatoes and carrots, feel free to swap in your favorite firm winter veggies, like sweet potatoes, turnips or parsnips.”
Step 4: Finishing touches
Pick out the bay leaves and discard them. Then, in a small bowl, mix the remaining rosemary, salt, flour, water and balsamic vinegar until it’s smooth. Pour the mixture into the stew, allow it to come to a boil and then add in your peas.
After a few minutes, the stew should thicken and be ready to be served. Ladle into a bowl, pair with some crusty bread and dig in.
Tip from James: “Balsamic vinegar helps cut some of the fat and brightens the flavor. Check your balsamic’s label for an IGP designation. It indicates the vinegar was produced in Modena, Italy, an area known for its high-quality balsamic.”
Here are some hearty homemade bread recipes that will go great with the best beef stew.