Beef Stew

Serving Size: 4
Preparation Time: 2:00


  1. Toss the beef cubes in oil to coat them lightly, and add the flour, and toss again so the flour will adhere to the meat.
  2. Heat the second portion of oil in a heavy pan on medium heat, and brown the cubed beef in it. Brown on all sides uniformly. A chef once told me that a slow brown lasts, and I have found this to be true. Use a wooden spoon to stir. Don't let the pot's bottom stick or burn.
  3. Add the diced vegetables, and brown them a little. Add the garlic and cook it briefly but do not brown it, as it gets bitter.
  4. Add the tomato purée or diced fresh plum tomatoes if you have them, cook a short while.
  5. Add the beer, stock or water to cover the ingredients. Add the potatoes. Bring to the boil, and cut back to the simmer. Do not allow it to boil as simmering tenderizes, but boiling makes the meat dry and stringy. Cook until tender, and season with salt and pepper. Always season with salt first, as taste buds are more sensitive in a saline medium. Skim any fat or scum thrown as it cooks.
  6. If you would like the stew thicker, mix some cornstarch and water to a slurry, bring to the boil and add it. In a moment or two you will see the thickening take place, and judge if more is needed./li>


  1. Beer is a vegetable stock. I find its taste to be very good in a beef stew. You can use stock, wine or water instead. I always used Carlings, as a friend was the hydrologist for the company. Water is the most important ingredient in beer. It was at the Jager Haus in New York City that I learned to use beer as a stock. When we changed barrels in the cellar, a porter and I would drain the flat beer left in the barrel into a bucket, and bring it to the chef, who used it as a stock.
  2. The French word for stew is sauté. You can see why. A stew is characterized by browned cubes of beef completely covered by liquid, simmered to tenderness.
  3. See the discussion of moist heat cookery of meat in the article on Goulash.
  4. The choice of meat and vegetables is up to you. You can assort them any way you like, but if one is starchy, it will help the thickening of the stew in a very pleasant way. You can use more or less of any vegetable, and or add others as you like. Once again, this recipe is written on tablets of Jello. It is the basic technique that matters. For example, you could do a lamb stew with okra in just the same way, only adjusting for the cooking properties of okra.

Suggested Wine: Serve the wine you use to make the stew
Serving Ideas: Makes a nice pot pie

Notes: See how the method used here parallels the schematic composition of a brown sauce.


Steve's #21 Recipes:

Sauce Espagnole
Sauce Diable for Grilled Pork
Beef Stew
Beef Sweetbreads in Mushroom Sauce
Chicken Stew Chasseur*
Braised Brisket of Beef
Fillet de Beouf aux Morilles
Autumn Roast Duck
Brown Stock—Estouffade*
Court Bouillon*

* Repeated


©1996, Steve K. Holzinger. All rights reserved.

This Archived Page created between 1994 and 2001. Modified August 2007