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Pursuit of it All

Classic Beef Stew: perfect for a busy weeknight, especially during the holidays!

Classic Beef Stew

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve is arguably one of the busiest ever.

Days (and nights) are spent shopping for the special people in your life, while also balancing holiday parties, kids’ choral performances, cookie baking, decorating, and that thing we like to call work.

For times like these, where you can barely keep your head on straight and crazy schedules may not allow for a family meal together, an easy-to-make one pot meal that can be served up throughout the evening is clutch!

Classic Beef Stew: perfect for a busy week, especially during the holidays!

I love making this recipe a few times a month through winter; it’s such a comfort food! The house smells amazing while it simmers away on the stove (or in my slow cooker), and in terms of a delicious budget-friendly meal to feed a crowd, you’d be hard pressed to find something better.

Plus, classic beef stew is great because the longer it cooks, the better it gets…and with this recipe, the beef cubes literally fall apart by the end. {drool}

Bonus, leftovers reheat great!

Classic Beef Stew: perfect for a busy weeknight, especially during the holidays!

This classic beef stew is also freezable, so if you end up with with a large batch that can’t be finished at dinnertime, consider freezing it in single serving portions to reheat next month in lieu of take-out or a TV dinner.

Classic Beef Stew
Recipe Type: Dinner
Author: Liza
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 to 6
Warm up with a bowl of this classic beef stew!
  • 1 pound stew beef cubes
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 whole carrots, peeled and cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 14.5-ounce can beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh parsley (optional)
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. While the oil is warming, sprinkle the beef cubes evenly with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the flour to a large zip-top bag, then drop the beef cubes in all at once. Seal the top and then shake the bag until the cubes have been coated with flour.
  2. Add half the beef cubes to the pot and brown them on all sides—about 2 minutes per side. Remove them to a plate lined with a paper towel, and then repeat the browning process with the rest of the beef cubes. (Depending on the size of your pot, you may be able to fit more beef cubes at one time. Take care not to crowd them, or else you won’t get a nice brown crust.)
  3. Once the cubes have all been browned, reduce the heat to medium, and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot, followed by the onions, mushrooms, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, allspice, paprika and parsley. Cook the mixture until the onions are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes, and then stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute more.
  4. Pour the beef broth in all at once, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the bits that were stuck to the bottom of the pot. Next, add the water, bay leaves and the beef cubes and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, then let it simmer for 1 hour.
  5. After an hour, add the potatoes and carrots, then cover and cook for another 30 minutes.
  6. Ladle out 1 cup of the hot liquid into a bowl and whisk in the cornstarch until the mixture is smooth. There might be a few small white lumps, and that’s okay. Pour the cornstarch mixture back into the pot, and stir to incorporate it fully—this will help thicken the stew. If you like a thinner, brothy-er stew you can omit this step!
  7. Cover the pot and cook for another 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the bay leaves, and serve the beef stew with a sprig of fresh parsley and a loaf of crusty French bread.
For busy days, this recipe can easily be adapted for a slow cooker. Simply brown the meat, and then place it in your slow cooker after it’s finished draining. Add the onions and other goodies after you finish step 3. Then add the remaining ingredients all at once, give a stir, and set it to cook for 4-5 hours on high, or 8-10 hours on low. This classic beef stew recipe’s really flexible!

Liza is a self-proclaimed #wordnerd who loves getting sucked into whimsical novels and epic movies, frequently flying under the coolness radar with her laid-back, practical attitude towards life. A foodie at heart, Liza relishes the chance to both cook and eat. (She's not picky.) She’s on the hunt for the perfect mojito, inspiration for a third tattoo, and world peace. You can also find Liza sharpening her knives over at (a)Musing Foodie.

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