Many stew recipes call for cooking the meat and vegetables at the same time, leaving the latter overcooked and mushy. Instead, first braise the meat with onions in red wine and beef broth until a rich sauce develops. Then, after about an hour, add carrots, celery, and potatoes. By the time the vegetables are cooked, the beef will be tender, then just stir in some peas for a little freshness and color. Spoon the stew over egg noodles or celery root purée, or just pass around plenty of crusty bread to scoop up all the rich sauce.
Watch Lisa Lavery of the CHOW Test Kitchen make this simple beef stew recipe in an episode of our Easiest Way video series.
- 1Place 1/4 cup of the flour and the measured salt and pepper in a large bowl and whisk to combine; set aside. Trim the roast of excess fat and sinew and cut it into 1- to 1-1/2-inch cubes. Place the meat in the flour mixture and toss to coat; set aside.
- 2Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Shake off the excess flour from about one-third of the meat and add it to the pot. Cook, stirring rarely, until browned all over, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining meat in 2 more batches; set aside.
- 3Add the onion to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir to coat the onion, and cook until the raw flavor has cooked off, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- 4Sprinkle in the remaining tablespoon of flour and cook, stirring occasionally, until the raw flavor has cooked off, about 1 minute. Pour in the wine, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, and cook until the mixture has thickened, about 3 minutes.
- 5Return the meat and any accumulated juices in the bowl to the pot. Add the broth, bay leaves, and thyme and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
- 6Cut the carrots, celery, and potatoes into large dice and add them to the pot (peel the carrots and potatoes first, if desired). Stir to combine, cover with a tightfitting lid, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables and meat are knife tender, about 1 hour more.
- 7Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme stems. Stir in the peas and simmer uncovered until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.