Even though we are experiencing a bit of a thaw here in New England, it’s still Winter in my book. And, as far as I’m concerned, a hearty Beef Stew is a perfect mid-winter meal!
I’ve always prepared my Beef Stew in my slow cooker, but–as you probably know–lately I’ve been in love with a beautiful 5.5 quart Dutch Oven I received this past Christmas from my older sister.
Actually I’ve jumped so far into Dutch Oven cooking, I braved an hour journey to the South Shore to score two new Martha Stewart Dutch Ovens–in glorious Spinach green–being offered by someone on Facebook Marketplace…but that’s a story for another post…
Back to this unbelievable Beef Stew in the Dutch Oven…
What amazed me the most about making this Stew in a Dutch Oven instead of a slow cooker, is how unbelievably tender the beef was! Just melt-in-your-mouth juicy, tender and flavorful beef, which is way beyond what a slow cooker can achieve. And yet, still as simple and easy to make.
I started by browning my Stew beef (about two pounds) on top of the stove with a tiny bit of oil and, I believe, this is what made the difference in the flavor of the beef. After browning the meat, I loaded up my pot with baby carrots, some sliced celery, large chunks of red potatoes, a diced onion and minced garlic. I then stirred in some diced tomatoes, beef broth and a little tomato paste, to make the gravy and placed the covered pan in my preheated 375 degree oven to cook for three hours.
I’m a “peeker”. I am compelled to check in on things and make adjustments during cooking. Thankfully that was a good thing for this recipe, as I did need to add some water. I ended up adding about a cup of water at the end of the first and second hours, because some of the natural liquid evaporated during cooking. This was the only difference in cooking in a Dutch Oven versus a slow cooker, which naturally keeps liquids from evaporating by using a tightly sealed cover.
For those on a budget, this recipe easily makes eight complete servings and cost less than $15 to make. That’s less than $2 a meal! Plus you get the benefit of knowing you made it yourself–with no “unwanted” ingredients AND the comfort of a warm and wonderful home on a cold winter’s night.
Why not give it a go? And, if you do, let me know how you made out!
- Two pounds of fresh stewing beef from your butcher
- Five or six larger red potatoes, cut into large chunks
- Baby carrots or regular carrots cut into large chunks
- Two ribs of celery, sliced
- One or two onions, rough chopped
- Minced garlic to taste
- 1 can of petite diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 32 ounces beef broth (boxed broth) or substitute cans to equal 32 ounces
- Salt and pepper
- Water, if needed
- On the stove top over medium high heat, brown the beef with a tablespoon of oil
- Remove from heat and layer in potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and garlic
- Pour in broth and diced tomatoes with juice and spoon in tomato paste
- Cover Dutch Oven and put in preheated Oven for three hours, checking and gently stirring each hour. Add water if needed.