Cold weather and dropping temperatures call for comforting stews that simmer slowly on the stove top and fill the kitchen with wonderful aromas. Today I want to share with you a family-favorite recipe for a make-ahead beef stew with mushrooms and potatoes. Juicy chunks of beef and tender vegetables are cooked in a delicious, rich broth to make the perfect Sunday (or weeknight) meal!
Reading: When to add mushrooms to beef stew
The recipe for this make-ahead beef stew is fairly straight forward. As it is the case with stews and similar slow-braising recipes it does take some time to cook. Once you gather all the ingredients and prep them, however, it is mostly hands off. Here are the ingredients and what you need to know to make the perfect pot of beef stew:
Ingredients for beef stew
Which meat to use
You need to choose a meat that is good for slow cooking. Your best bet (and most affordable choice) is chuck. It comes from the shoulder and upper arm of the cow, is collagen-rich, and becomes really tender and succulent the longer and slower it cooks. Boneless short ribs, is another great choice for a stew. It is more expensive than chuck, but it has a deep, beefy flavor. No matter which one of the two you use, do not rush the cooking process; low and slow is the name of the game!
The vegetables in this stew are more than just a filler or an afterthought. Each one adds a unique flavor and texture to the stew. The order in which they are added to the stew is important because we do not want them to fall apart as they cook or get mushy.
Tips for the perfect make-ahead beef stew
- Searing the meat is essential for flavor building. When you brown the beef, make sure to not stir it too often; allow a deep crust to form before turning
- Do not overcrowd the pot; cook the meat in batches and make sure it caramelizes on all sides
- Add liquid to scrape any brown bits at the bottom of the pan (deglaze the pan). These brown bits are full of rich flavor
- Do not rush the cooking. Depending on the quantity and size of the stew meat, you will need at least 2 hours of cooking (or more if you cook it in the oven)
- Do not add all the vegetables at once or they will loose their texture and their optimum flavor
- You do not need a thickener; the potatoes will provide all the starch the stew needs as they cook
- Avoid the temptation to serve right away. A stew needs to rest before eating and it always tastes best the next day!
The Three easy steps
Read more: 45 Minute Instant Pot Beef Stew
1. Sautée the vegetables first:
2. Sear the meat in the same pot next:
3. Bring everything back to the pot and cook at a low simmer. If you have a Dutch oven, or other oven-proof pot, you can also cook the stew in the oven at a low temperature (about 300°F). This method of cooking will need another hour or so of cooking time. Towards the end of the cooking time, partially uncover the pot to allow for some evaporation.
This dish is the ultimate winter comfort meal. It is perfect for a family Sunday meal and will make lots of good leftovers to enjoy as a second meal later in the week. I hope that you try it some time, friends and, if you do, drop me a line and leave me a comment to let me know how you liked it! Stay warm and cook something delicious this weekend!
Here are two more stews from the blog’s archives to try this winter – The first one is served over polenta and the second served over pasta!
Braised short ribs with parmesan polenta
Beef stew in red wine and hoisin sauce
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