Classic American Beef Stew

Main Course
Soups & Stews

Recipe courtesy of Classic American Food without Fuss

Serves 6

  • 2½ pounds boneless chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch cubes

The Marinade:

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and sliced 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves

The Meat Braise:

  • flour for dredging
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 2-inch piece of beef suet (or 2 tablespoons butter and 1tablespoon cooking oil)
  • 1½ cups full-bodied red wine
  • 3 cups homemade or condensed canned ( undiluted) beef broth
  • 1 cup V-8 tomato cocktail (not spicy)

The Vegetables:

  • 6 medium new potatoes, peeled and
  • halved
  • 6 carrots, quartered, or 18 ready-to­-cook carrots
  • 12 small white boiling onions, peeled


Classic American Beef Stew

Click image to enlarge



Marinating the meat will produce a more deeply flavorful stew, but you can skip this step. Place the meat in a bowl with the combined marinade ingredients, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°.  

Remove the meat from the marinade, reserving the drained vegetables. Pat the meat dry and blot with paper towels then toss the meat with a small amount of flour, salt, and pepper. Shake off excess.

Put the suet (or butter and oil) in a large heavy skillet and render it over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes, until a glaze of fat covers the pan surface. Leave the suet in the center and place the beef cubes around it so they don't touch. Brown the meat in 3 batches, for about 6 minutes each, turning the cubes once. Transfer the meat to a covered Dutch oven or ovenproof casserole.

Layer in the marinade vegetables or use freshly prepared ones if you skipped that step. Add the wine to the hot skillet and let it sizzle for a minute to deglaze the pan. Add the broth and V-8 and scrape up all the caramelized bits from the skillet. Pour the liquid over the meat, cover the casserole, and oven-braise the meat for 3 hours.

Transfer the meat to a bowl with tongs, knocking off the vegetables, which should be discarded. Strain the braising liquid back over the meat and, when it has cooled to room temperature, cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove any congealed fat from the top.

Reheat the meat in the broth and, if the sauce isn't thick enough, mix 2 tablespoons soft butter with 2 tablespoons flour and stir the beurre manié into the sauce to thicken. Steam the vegetables in a steamer or the microwave and add to the meat. Serve at once.


Cooking the vegetables separately is the best way to avoid overcooking them and producing a watery sauce for the stew.

Stew just gets better and better the longer it keeps, and the cooked meat freezes well. You can braise double the amount of meat, freeze it, and simply steam vegetables or serve over cooked noodles for a quick meal later in the fall.


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