Rustic Beef Stew (plus our simple tip for guaranteeing great flavour)
The presence of flavour enhances our eating satisfaction no end. (We’ve discussed this on our blog here).
On the other hand, the absence of flavour in a meal can be disappointing.
As home cooks, how then, can we guarantee the meals we prepare are brimming with natural flavours?
You can be forgiven for assuming that only the most flavourful foods come with a high price tag. After all, many high-flavour profile are expensive. Think truffles, caviar, saffron, wagyu steaks and the like.
But we want to share a secret with you.
It’s actually the reverse with meat 🙂
It’s often the cheapest cuts of meat – called secondary cuts – that contain the most flavour. The cuts that have been exercised and used the most.
It’s partly because of the marbling in meat (the intramuscular fat) and the technique of browning the meat before cooking it (known as the Maillard Reaction).
Always choose the right cut of meat to use in your stew. See below for our recommendations for a beef stew.
Sure, we can add extra flavours by seasoning, marinating, or brining meat. But these are introduced flavours – and not present naturally in the meat.
So now you know the secret, it’s time to share a recipe using an economical, but flavoursome, cut of meat.
This “basic” beef stew is similar to what would have appeared on tables in years gone by. Those were the good old days when food was simple, whole, real.
Comfort food that begs for some crusty bread with which to clean your plate!
What’s your experience with stews and secondary cuts? Do you have a favourite beef stew that you’ll never abandon? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
Hearty Rustic Beef Stew
- 500g stewing steak* , diced
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 1 cup beef bone broth
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 – 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 4 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 4 carrots, peeled and roughly cut
- 2 stalks celery, roughly cut
- Heat a large heavy-based pot. Add a knob of tallow, butter or dash of oil if desired.
- Add beef in batches, and brown (see recipe tips below).
- Fry onion for several minutes before adding browned meat back to the pot.
- Add beef broth, wine, any reserved cooking juices, garlic and herbs to the pot and bring to the boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for approximately 1 1/2 hours (or until meat is tender).
- Add potatoes, carrots and celery, cover pot and simmer for a further 3/4 hour til vegies are soft and cooked.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serves: 6 – 8
Best Beef Cuts for Stews:
* Stewing steak is a generic term used to describe any cut of meat that is best cooked slowly over a low heat in a liquid.
* Suitable cuts are diced chuck, gravy beef (meat removed from the boned osso bucco cut), or blade steak.
* At a stretch you could use leaner options like diced round or topside steak, but your meat won’t be as meltingly tender (due to the absence of connective tissue). You could also use oxtail, but you’ll need to increase the cooking time to at least 4 hours.
Tips for browning:
- Allow the pot to reheat for several minutes between batches.
- Any cooking juices that have accumulated in the bottom of the pot while browning are flavour gold! Pour them off and reserve for adding back to the pot with wine and stock.