What’s better than a nutrient-dense, even-better-the-next-day hearty beef stew for cozying up on cold evenings? This isn’t your grandmother’s beef stew. Packed with superfoods, it’s beyond delicious, keeps for days, and doesn’t involve dredging the beef in refined white flour. They key is caramelizing the veggies in rounds and deglazing the skillet with broth after each round. Then you add the deglazed bits with broth to the stock which an amazingly rich and delicious broth.
This beef stew is nearly nightshade-free: no tomatoes or tomato paste, but I do add potatoes. You could leave them out if you’re nightshade sensitive or following an autoimmune protocol (swap them out for parsnips). I also add shiitake mushrooms for umami flavor and immune support. Shiitakes have a meaty texture and are a star among the cancer fighting medicinal mushrooms.
I have used duck fat to brown the beef, and that was the best version of this stew I’ve made, but any saturated (solid at room temp) fat will work. Olive oil is fine too, but the saturated fats are the most stable for high heat sautéing.
This is truly a special stew recipe, and once you make it, you’ll see why. This is the only beef stew recipe you’ll need. Make it. You won’t be disappointed.
The Best Damn Beef Stew Ever
- 2 lbs grass fed beef stew meat (chuck or round, don't get the lower fat option!), chopped in ½ inch or inch cubes. Always get grass fed for its better fatty acid profile.
- 2 Tbsps olive oil, butter, or bacon fat
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2-3 large carrots, chopped
- 2 large red or purple potatoes (not Idaho!), cut into 1-inch cubes OR 2 parsnip for AIP option
- 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced, more if you like it that way (I am a garlic fiend and usually double the garlic called for in recipes)
- 2-3 cups dry red wine OR 2 cups additional broth + 1-2 tbsp balsamic
- 2 cups homemade bone broth or beef broth
- 1 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms (great for immune health)
- 2 or 3 strips of kombu (a mineral-rich sea veggie you can find at Whole Foods or any natural foods store. If you're in SF, Rainbow Grocery has them in the bulk bins!)
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce (omit if AIP)
- 1 tbsp tamari or coconut aminos
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste (careful with black pepper on AIP; it's excluded typically)
- A bag of sweet green peas, optional (no on AIP)
- First, chop and prep all your ingredients.
- Start up the broth and red wine in a large dutch oven: bring it to a low simmer. I typically start off with about ½ bottle of wine and 2 cups or broth, then add more to desired thickness as the stew cooks. (I like it very thick).
- Meanwhile, season the cubed meat with a little salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil, bacon fat or butter in a cast iron skillet over a medium flame then cook the meat until browns on all sides. You may need to cook the meat in two batches to avoid crowding.
- Add the beef to the dutch oven. Add kombu strips to the dutch oven (heretofore referred to as the "pot").
- Deglaze the skillet with some of the broth from the dutch oven and scrape the browned bits + deglazed broth back in to the pot.
- Add onions and garlic to the skillet and sautee til translucent - about 5-8 minutes, then add to pot. Deglaze the pan with a little of the simmering stock; add deglazed broth back to pot, and then add the potatoes; cook until they start to get a little crust on them but not all the way done. Add to pot. Deglaze skillet, add deglazed broth back to pot.
- Do the carrots next; add to pot, deglaze, etc etc; then finally the mushrooms.
- You don't want to cook all the veggies until they're all the way done, because they come out mushy. Just about ½ way there or so.
- Add more wine/stock if needed for desired thickness, then add all other spices. I typically add garlic powder and possibly some Italian seasoning too.
- Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low and cook for about an hour or so, adding more wine/stock as needed.
- Taste to adjust the seasonings. Add whatever is needed, or more wine/broth if you want it less thick. If it's too watery for your taste, add a little coconut flour.
- Add the optional frozen green peas (I love them because they give it a bit of a fresh green crunch) and heat through until done but not mushy.
- Garnish with the chopped parsley if desired. Enjoy with raw kraut.
Keeps well for days! Enjoy this zinc-rich, immune boosting, mineral rich stew.
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Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. In addition to her coaching practice, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and kick nagging digestive issues for good. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.