A Master Class Classic for The Home Cook!
I have been making juicy beef stew for half of my life. My first attempt happened at a sports bar I worked at when I was 20 or so. (I’ll be 50 in September!)
We had run out of our premade soup the day of a big game. The owner demanded I make beef stew. I promptly informed them that I’d never made it, but still, I agreed to give it a shot.
I cut up a few ribeye steaks and potatoes, repurposed some of the celery and carrots we served with our buffalo wings. Made a quick broth from some beef base we had in the walk-in cooler, threw it all together with some garlic powder, and other random items from the spice rack.
I simmered it for 2 hours, and the result…. was fantastic! That beef stew earned me a .25 cents per hour raise!
The point of this story is to highlight how easy it is to make a decent beef stew. I was a freshman cook with very little experience preparing food from scratch. But with just some basic knowledge and a bit of youthful arrogance, my first attempt was a huge hit!
I have been refining the juicy beef stew recipe ever since.
Today I am pleased to share this nutritious, hearty, protein-rich recipe with you all.
- Chuck Steaks, or Chuck Eye Steaks – about 1 1/2 pounds total
- Celery – 3 ribs
- Carrots – 3. For a low carb, version try Kale, Yellow Squash, or Red Bell Peppers as a substitute.
- Potatoes – I used a single Russet, but any potato will work fine. For a low-carb option, I would go with Cauliflower.
- Green Beans – A Good Handful.
- Pearled Barley – 1/3rd cup. Skip this for a low-carb version as its only purpose is for texture, and it doesn’t add any flavor to the dish.
- Chicken Broth – 2 Cups
- Beef Broth – 2 Cups
- Fresh Garlic – 8 Cloves
- Dry Rosemary – 1 tbsp.
- Dry Thyme – 1/2 tbsp.
- Marrow Bones – 2. This is optional, but they bring so much nutritional value, and health benefits that it’s worth asking around to find.
- Worcestershire Sauce – 1 1/2 tbsp.
- Soy Sauce – 1 tbsp.
- Fermented Fish Sauce – 3 drops. This also is optional, mostly due to it weirding people out, but the umami punch this brings to the broth is worth pushing through any misgivings. So give it a try unless you have an allergy to seafood!
- Balsamic Vinegar – 1 tbsp.
- 2 tbsp. Corn Starch – 2 tbsp. You can skip this if you are going for low carb, it is just used to thicken the broth.
Quick Guide for Substitutions
- Kale – add at the beginning of the recipe with the marrow bones
- Yellow Squash – add during the last 10 minutes before serving.
- Red Bell Pepper – add during the last 15 minutes before serving.
- Cauliflower – add with the rest of the veggies for 30 minutes to simmer.
Searing The Beef / The Maillard Reaction
Re-thinking the method used for the initial browning of the beef for this recipe was a critical step in the act of mastering of it.
Most recipes call for chopping the beef and “browning” it. This usually results in the beef releasing loads of water, and it boils in its own juices, resulting in zero browning, or flavor development.
Let’s Talk About The Maillard Reaction.
The Maillard Reaction is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned food its distinctive flavor. It’s why seared meat is always tastier than boiled meat. It’s why we like golden brown potatoes, and why grilled vegetables are so yummy.
Let’s start by treating the beef like a steak.
Place a large saucepot over high heat and add 2 tbsp. of a high smoke point vegetable oil – Canola, Avocado, and grape seed oil are all excellent options.
Meanwhile take your chuck steaks, lightly coat them with the same oil you used in the pot, and then lightly salt them.
When the oil in the pot begins to smoke, carefully add the steaks.
Sear both sides until they develop a dark crust, about 2-4 minutes per side depending on how hot the pan is.
When you’re satisfied with the browning, transfer the steaks to a plate to rest, and remove the pot from the heat.
You should have a good amount of fond on the bottom of the pan, and you don’t want to burn it.
Next, add 2 cups each of beef, and chicken broth to the pot and return the pot to the range over low heat.
Cut one of your carrots lengthwise, and one of your celery ribs into 3 large chunks, then add those to the pot along with the marrow bones.
Chop the 8 garlic cloves, and add those to the broth. I like to slice them into thin ‘chips’ but any rough chop will be fine, it will cook long enough that it disintegrates into the broth.
By now, the beef should be cool enough to handle. It will be rare, but this is fine.
Cut the beef up into bite sized chunks, removing as much fat as you can, and any unpleasant membrane you find.
Add the beef to the broth, cover the pot with a lid, and set a timer for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Chop the remaining carrots, celery, and green beans into stew-sized chunks and then store them in the fridge until we need them later.
Let’s Talk Nutrition
So now that we have some time to kill, let’s talk a bit about the health benefits of bone marrow, as they’re quite numerous, but there are three that I find the most attractive.
First, bone marrow is very high in glucosamine, this is a compound found in cartilage that’s often used as a natural remedy for osteoarthritis due to its ability to reduce inflammation and relieve joint pain.
Second, bone marrow is also rich in Glycine, a type of protein that has shown powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce inflammation in your body.
Third, bone marrow is loaded with collagen. Collagen is a type of protein found throughout your body that plays a critical role in skin health!
Ok, Back to Work, Chef!
After an hour of simmering, use tongs to remove the carrots and celery chunks. Leave the marrow bones, they still have plenty of goodness to give to the broth. Continue simmering your juicy beef stew for the remaining 30 minutes.
When your timer goes off, check the beef for tenderness. If it is tender and ready, you’re good to go. If not, continue simmering until it is.
Peel and chop your potatoes, and add them to the broth along with the chopped vegetables and barley. Continue simmering for the remaining 30 minutes. I don’t ready the potato in advance due to its tendency to oxidize and turn brown.
When the vegetables are tender, we’re just about ready.
Remove the marrow bones, then blend your 2 tbsp. of Corn Starch with 1/4 cup of water.
Add this into your pot slowly while stirring, and continue to simmer for another 2 minutes or until you see the broth thicken slightly.
Salt and pepper to taste, then serve this juicy beef stew!
The Most Moist and Juicy Beef Stew!
- Cutting Board
- Large Sauce Pot
- Measuring Cup
- Standard Stove Top
- Stirring Spoon
- 1 1/2 lbs Chuck Steaks or Chuck Eye Steaks
- 3 whole Carrots
- 3 ribs Celery
- 8 cloves Fresh Garlic
- 1 handful Green Beans
- 1/3 cup Pearled Barley (Do not include for low-carb version)
- 1 whole Potato
Herbs, Spices, Sauces and Broths
- 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 cups Beef Broth
- 2 cups Chicken Broth
- 2 tbsp Corn Starch (Do not include for low-carb version)
- 1 tbsp Dry Rosemary
- 1/2 tbsp Dry Thyme
- 3 drops Fermented Fish Sauce (Optional, but recommended)
- 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Low-Carb Substitutes (Optional)
- Cauliflower (Substitute for Potato)
- Kale (Subtitute for Carrots)
- Red Bell Peppers (Substitute for Carrots)
- Yellow Squash (Substitute for Carrots)
- 2 Marrow Bones (Optional, but recommended)
Guide for low-carb subtitutes
- Kale – Add at the beginning of the recipe, with the marrow bones.
- Yellow Squash – Add during the last 10 minutes before serving.
- Red Bell Pepper – Add during the last 15 minutes before serving.
- Cauliflower – Add with the rest of the veggies, with 30 minutes to simmer.
The Most Moist and Juicy Beef Stew!
- Place a large sauce pan over high heat, add 2 tbsp. of high smoke point vegetable oil (Canola, Avocado, Grape Seed).
- Lightly coat chuck steaks with the same oil used in the saucepan, lightly salt the steaks.
- Once the saucepan begins to smoke, add the steaks. Sear both side until they develop a dark crust (roughly 2-4 minutes per side).
- Once you're satisfyied with the browning, transfer the steaks to a plate to res, and remove the pot from the heat to prevent the fond from burning.
- Add 2 cups of both beef broth and chicken broth to the pot, return the pot to low-heat.
- Cut 1 carrot length wise, and onecelery rib into 3 large chunks. Add these, and the bone marrowsto the pot.
- Chop 8 garlic cloves and add them to the broth.
- Once cool enough to handle, cut the beef (it will be rare, this is fine) into bite sized chunks while removing as much fat and membrane as possible.
- Add the beef to the broth, cover the pot with a lid, and set a timer for 1 1/2 hours.
- Chop the remaining carrots, celery and green beans into stew sized chunks. Store them in the fridge until they're needed.
- After an hour has passed, use tongs to remove the carrots and celery chunks from the pot, but leave the marrow bones.
- Continue simmering for 30 more minutes.
- Once the timer goes off, check your beef to see if it's tender. If not, continue simmering until it is.
- Peel and chop your potato, and add it to the broth with the barley, and chopped vegetables from the fridge.
- Continue simmering for 30 more minutes.
- Once the vegetables are tender, remove the marrow bones.
- Blend 2 tbsp. Corn Starch with 1/4 cup of water. Add this to the pot slowly while stirring.
- Continue simmering for 2 minutes or until the broth thickens.
- Salt and pepper to taste, then serve!