Recipe for Beef Stew in a Dutch Oven

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This recipe for Beef Stew in a Dutch Oven includes tender fall apart beef, mixed with delicious vegetables, and served in a thick beefy sauce.

This is one of my favorite meals during Fall and Winter. After braising in the oven for a few hours tough budget-friendly chuck roast becomes meltingly tender.

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This one-pot meal feeds a crowd and while the cooking time is long most of it is hands-off. Plus the leftovers are even better; the flavor improves the longer it sits.

How do you make beef stew meat tender?

We are a family on a budget and beef can be very expensive. Which is why I love recipes that utilize cheaper cuts of beef.

The trick for turning cheap tough chewy chuck roast into tender delicious stew meat is to braise it or cook it low and slow. Chuck roast is usually well marbled with fat and connective tissue. As the chuck roast cooks the collagen in the connective tissue melts into gelatin, turning tough and chewy into moist and tender. That gelatin will also seep into the stewing liquids, giving it a creamy rich body.

beef stew in a white bowl

Ingredients

Boneless Beef Chuck: Look for a chuck roast that is well-marbled. Meaning there are thin lines of white fat running throughout the meat. This fat will provide flavor and moistness.

For more tips about selecting the best cut for beef stew, check out this article from Serious Eats. 

Salt and Pepper: To maximize flavor, salt and pepper the meat about 30 minutes before cooking. This will allow the salt to permeate into the meat flavoring it throughout. It will also help dry out the surface of the meat ensuring a great sear.

Olive Oil: Don’t worry about using a fancy olive oil. Basic olive oil will work just fine for searing the meat.

Aromatics (yellow onion, celery, carrots and garlic): The combination of onion, celery, and carrots is know in French cooking as a mirepoix. As the aromatics are slowly sauteed, they will caramelize adding additional flavor to the beef stew.

Acid (balsamic vinegar and tomato paste): Acid is a key component for any dish. It helps to balance the salty and sweet flavors and brighten the dish.

Beef Broth: Liquid is an important ingredient when braising. You could braise in something as simple as water but why not use a more flavorful liquid such as beef broth. You could also substitute chicken or vegetable broth.

Seasoning (Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and paprika)

Vegetables (Yukon potatoes, mushrooms, and peas): When chopping the vegetables, try to keep the sizes consistent and small. This will help them to cook evenly and ensure a variety of flavors in every bite.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to throw the beef and all of the vegetables in all at once. The beef needs hours to slowly braise and become tender. If you add the vegetables in at the same time they will turn to mush by the time the meat is done.

Garnish (fresh parsley): I love topping a bowl of beef stew with fresh parsley. The bright green herb adds great color contrast along with bright fresh flavor.

Equipment

The only piece of special equipment you need is a cast iron dutch oven. Many people love the dutch ovens made by Le Creuset. They are beautiful, durable, and well made. Unfortunately their price sticker is a little high for me.

Which is why I love my dutch oven from Lodge. It is well made, cooks evenly, and comes in my favorite color at 1/3 of the cost.

A wooden spoon is also great to have to avoid scratching the dutch oven’s enamel coating. My favorite is this wooden spoon from OXO. Its shape is great for scraping along the edge of the pan.

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325°F and move the oven rack to the lower-middle position.

Pat the meat dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on all sides in three batches adding additional oil for each batch. This will take about five minutes per batch. Do not crowd the pan. Transfer the meat to a large plate and set aside.

Note: Crowding the pan by trying to brown all of the meat at once will cause it to steam instead of sear. Preventing the meat from browning and developing a lovely caramelized flavor.

Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Season with salt and saute for 20 minutes until lightly browned and softened. Add the garlic and saute for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar using a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more.

Add the beef and any juices on the plate back into the pan and sprinkle with flour. Stir until the flour is dissolved. Add the beef broth, Worcestershire, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and paprika. Bring to a boil scraping any additional brown bits from the bottom of the pan, cover, and place in the oven to braise for 2 hours.

Remove the pot from the oven and add the potatoes. Cover and place back in the oven for thirty more minutes. Remove the pot from the oven again and add the mushrooms and peas. Cook for an additional thirty minutes or until the vegetables are cooked, the broth is thickened, and the meat is tender.

Discard the bay leaf before serving. Salt and pepper to taste.

Variations

This recipe is versatile and can easily be customized to suit your tastes. Try substituting sweet potatoes for the white potatoes. Or you could leave out the potatoes and serve it over egg noodles. Don’t like peas? Try substituting green beans.

beef stew in a white bowl

Serving Suggestions

My favorite side dish for beef stew is bread. A flaky biscuit, crusty bread, or a soft roll are great for soaking up every last bit of the delicious gravy. If you have some sourdough starter my favorite rolls are these from Buttered Side Up.

I also usually serve a simple side salad along with this beef stew.

Storing Leftovers

Place leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.  To reheat, place the leftovers in a pot on the stove-top and cook over medium heat until warm.

Beef stew also freezes really well.  Place in an airtight container, label with the contents and date, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Allow the beef stew to thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Once thawed, place the leftovers in a pot on the stove-top and cook over medium heat until warm.

beef stew in a light blue dutch oven

Recipe for Beef Stew in Dutch Oven

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes

This recipe for Beef Stew in a Dutch Oven includes tender fall apart beef, mixed with delicious vegetables, and served in a thick beefy sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless beef chuck (well-marbled), fat trimmed and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks on a diagonal
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 12 oz Yukon potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and move the oven rack to the lower-middle position.
  2. Pat the meat dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on all sides in three batches adding additional oil for each batch. This will take about five minutes per batch. Do not crowd the pan. Transfer the meat to a large plate and set aside.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Season with salt and saute for 20 minutes until lightly browned and softened. Add the garlic and saute for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar using a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more.
  4. Add the beef and any juices on the plate back into the pan and sprinkle with flour. Stir until the flour is dissolved. Add the beef broth, Worcestershire, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and paprika. Bring to a boil scraping any additional brown bits from the bottom of the pan, cover, and place in the oven to braise for 2 hours.
  5. Remove the pot from the oven and add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and place back in the oven for thirty more minutes. Remove the pot from the oven again and add the mushrooms and peas. Cook for an additional thirty minutes or until the vegetables are cooked, the broth is thickened, and the meat is tender.
  6. Salt and pepper to taste. Discard the bay leaf and top with freshly chopped parsley before serving.

Notes

Crowding the pan by trying to brown all of the meat at once will cause it to steam instead of sear. Preventing the meat from browning and developing a lovely caramelized flavor.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 491Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 1468mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 5gSugar: 6gProtein: 55g

This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from an online calculator. Although raspberriesandkohlrabi.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Looking for more delicious fall/winter dinners? Try:

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Long

    Hello! I plan on making this tonight, however, I have no balsamic vinegar. Can I omit these? Thanks!

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