English Beef Stew - Simple Recipe
Why Beef Stew?
Because it is delicious and really not that difficult to make, although done properly it does take quite a while to cook!
Just the other day I was reading an article that was lamenting the lack of a good recipe for Old Fashioned English Stew like the lady made whom I remembered from growing up. I just happen to have a really simple (in my opinion) recipe for English Beef Stew that is both simple to make and delicious. so that is the basis on which this Hub is being written.
There is a secret to making good stews and that is to cook them really slow, and to use good beef. So many people destroy the value of stew by using poor quality stewing beef from a poor butcher. If you are going for excellent results always start with excellent raw materials!
Picture taken on the second day (about 2/3 the stew has been eaten) copyright Stephen J Parkin
Ingredients For The English Stew
Traditional English Stew
The traditional English Beef stew contains only beef, onions and carrots plus seasonings. I like to add the potatoes to the casserole so that they are oven baked slowly along with the meat and carrots and thereby flavoured by the rich beef gravy the carrot and onion juices too. They will also help to make the gravy thicker due to their natural starch.
Time Needed To Prepare
- 1 1/2 to 2 lbs of Lean Stewing Beef (Cut into approximately 1 inch cubes)
- 4 Medium to Large Onions (quartered by cutting lengthways)
- 12 oz Carrots (Cut into large chunks)
- 4 Medium Potatoes (Cut into 6 to 8 chunks)
- 2 tbsps Plain Flour
- 2 Bay Leaves
- Sea Salt (To Taste)
- Assorted Peppercorns Ground (To Taste)
- 1 tbsp Tomato Puree
- 1 Beef Slock Cube (I use Knorr) - Enough for 1 pt of stock
- 1 pt water
- 2 tbsps Olive Oil (Extra Virgin Cold Pressed is Best)
- If you have a flame proof 3 quart casserole you can do all of this in that, if not you will need a large frying pan and a 3 quart casserole dish.
- Preheat your oven to 325F.
- If you have been following along all your ingredients are to hand and already prepared. Well done! If not do all your chopping now. Put your casserole or fry pan on a high heat and add the Olive Oil.
- Sautee the beef until it is brown on all sides, you may have to do this in batches. Remove from the pan and reserve on a large plate for later use. Use a slotted spoon and try to reserve all the juice in the casserole or pan.
- Next add the onions and carrots and fry on a medium heat until they are lightly browned all over. Remove from the pan/casserole and reserve for future use, leave all gravy juice and oil in the pan.
- Boil a kettle whilst things are cooking and mix up the stock in a large measuring jug.
- Carefully add the flour to the pan and keep stirring to make a pale brown paste, if there is not enough fluid carefully add a small amount of the stock.just enough to make a stiff paste. Let it cook for a minute (do not burn it!).
- Pour your stock in slowly stirring all the time and cook until the gravy is smooth (not too thick). Add the Tomato Puree and stir in.
- If you are using a fry pan carefully add back the meat and vegetables (carrots and potatoes) and stir to mix add Ground Salt and Pepper to taste. then add the bay leaves to your casserole dish and pour the stew on top.
- If using a flameproof casserole just add back the meat and vegetables and bay leaves Grind Salt and Pepper to taste.
- Place the lid on the casserole and place in the oven set your timer for 2.5 hours.
- Relax with a nice glass of red wine, you could add some to the stew (but that would no longer be English but French! LOL)
- I like to use Spanish Onions where available, but any fairly strong onion will work quite well. The flavour is in the meat jus so keeping everything together so as not to lose any is the secret of success. That and using good quality beef lean but with some slight marbling with fat.
Nutritional Values Of English Stew
|Serving size: 1 portion|
|Calories from Fat||90|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 10 g||15%|
|Saturated fat 1 g||5%|
|Unsaturated fat 3 g|
|Carbohydrates 20 g||7%|
|Sugar 3 g|
|Fiber 2 g||8%|
|Protein 34 g||68%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|Sodium 271 mg||11%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
More Nutritional Data For English Stew
Great Stew Needs A Great Pot
Stew is cooked slowly so that all the flavors blend together in the pot. It is traditional to use a pot that holds the heat and that will slowly permeate that heat through the ingredients. Emile Henry make some really great stoneware casserole pots that are fantastic for stew.
My Personal Favourite Casserole Spotlight
This is one of my favourite brands for cooking and I just love the red of this dish.
Do You Love A Hearty Stew?
Dutch Ovens Make Great Stew Pots!
Another option to stoneware is enameled Dutch ovens which are designed for the stove top and the oven. Like these.
Get The Casserole You Will Need From Amazon
This is a large Dutch Oven which will easily accommodate this stew, you would be able to increase quantities for a larger family and/or guests.
Red Enameled Dutch Oven
In case you hadn't noticed already I really like red cookware! These red enamel Dutch ovens are a great pot for cooking your stew in.
I personally prefer the red Dutch Oven and think it has a nicer style too.
Get A Set Of Casseroles & Always Have The Right Size
If you buy a whole set of casseroles you can double up the recipe and freeze some for later. It would also be possible to cook two different casseroles at the same time.
This is a three piece set an ideal wedding gift perhaps and also for splitting up a recipe so that you can make separate batches for subsequent days
Get The Casserole Set In Red
In case you still have not noticed I really, really like red cookware!
Again I prefer the red to the black, but it is all a matter of personal choice.
You Will Need The Right Utensils To Serve The Stew
The following modules are the necessary utensils to serve this stew and do it justice.
Useful Utensils From Amazon
Why Slotted Spoons?
When checking the stew to see if the vegetables are properly cooked and to sample the seasoning you will need a slotted spoon to retrieve the pieces from the gravy.
And For Dishing Up The Stew
The ladle is the best tool to use for dishing up soups and stews.
In order to peel the potatoes and carrots one of these is really useful.
Or You May Like Color
These peelers come in attractive colors to add spice to any kitchen.