This harvest beef stew recipe is a great way to use winter vegetables, including potatoes, onions, carrots, and garlic. Simply load up all the ingredients into the slow cooker and let this beef stew cook all day.
Is there anything that screams comfort food more than your classic beef stew? I call this harvest hearty beef stew because it is filled with vegetables and herbs harvested from our garden.
This classic beef stew simmers all day in a slow cooker allowing the flavors to infuse and the beef to tenderize to a tasty, melt in your mouth morsel. Fill the crockpot and come home to a piping hot, delicious stew for dinner.
Tips for Making Beef Stew
This hearty beef stew is made using simple ingredients, including chuck beef, potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, garlic and basic seasonings. Slow cooking transforms the beef into a tender, melt in your mouth bite and infuses the vegetable and broth with lots of flavor.
Beef stew is a nutritious and delicious way to make use of winter storage crops. This basic recipe will serve you well through the long winter. Here are tips to achieving a delicious hearty beef stew that you will want to make again and again:
Use the right type of beef
Slow cooked stews are where less-expensive cuts of meat really shine. Lean meats dry out and get tough when cooked for a long period of time. You want to select beef that has plenty of marbling of fat and connective tissue that will break down and tenderize during the slow cooking time.
Cuts to consider for beef stew include, chuck, chuck shoulder, chuck roast, bottom round roast, rump roast, eye round roast, top round, round tip roast, or pot roast. These cuts have also have the greatest flavor. If in doubt, consult your butcher for recommended meat selections for your beef stew.
Give your stew a flavorful start
Searing the meat in a skillet, sautéing the vegetables, and deglazing the pan before adding the ingredients to the slow cooker gives the beef stew an extra boost of flavor.
First, we begin layering the flavors by browning the beef in a skillet to get all the edges nice and seared. We remove the seared meat, and sauté the vegetables right in the drippings to soften, caramelize, and add a rich flavor to the stew.
Once the vegetables soften, we deglaze the skillet with beef broth, and scrape up all the brown bits that are stuck to the skillet. These brown bits are filled with flavor.
Finally, everything gets added to the slow cooker, covered with beef stock, and slow cooked to a delicious, hearty, and comforting stew.
No time for searing and sautéing? That’s ok, just add everything to the crock pot and it will still taste wonderful.
Select your vegetables
Beef stew is a nutritious and delicious way to make use of winter storage crops. The basic garden ingredients include potatoes, carrots, celery, garlic, onions or shallots, and herbs. However, the variations of this recipe are endless. You can substitute and incorporate other types of vegetables, including corn, beans, turnip, peas, parsnips, tomatoes, or mushrooms for a different flavor twist.
Just increase the amount of beef broth to cover all the ingredients in the slow cooker. Add corn, peas, tomatoes, and other soft or precooked vegetables at the end of the cooking time, so they keep their shape and flavor.
Use a flavorful beef stock
Homemade beef stock is easy to make with vegetable scraps and beef bones in the same way as described in this article for making chicken stock.
Replace the chicken bones with beef bones, roast the bones and veggies in the oven, and then simmer into a rich beef stock. Freeze for soups and stews.
If you are using a store bought beef stock or broth, try to choose an organic one without a lot of sodium, chemicals, and ingredients you cannot identify.
Steps for Making Beef Stew
This recipe takes advantage of slow cooking in a crockpot allowing the flavors to infuse and the beef to transform to a tender, melt in your mouth morsel. During winter, I often simmer the beef stew in a cast-iron Dutch oven on the wood stove that heats our home.
Step 1: Prepare the ingredients
Trim off visible fat from the meat and cut into one-inch cubes. Wash, trim, peel and cut the carrots, celery, and potatoes into uniform chunks. Skin and dice your garlic.
Step 2: Sear the beef
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. In a large bowl, blend pepper, salt, and flour together until combined. Add stew beef and toss to coat.
Add the beef to the hot skillet and sear until browned on all sides. Work in batches so you don’t crowd the pan. Remove seared beef and add to your slow cooker and leave behind the juices and brown bits.
Step 3: Sauté the vegetables and deglaze the pan
Add the onions to the pan drippings in the skillet and sauté until softened. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, and sauté until fragrant.
Add 1 cup of beef broth to the skillet to deglaze the pan. As the broth bubbles and simmers, scrape the skillet with a wooden spoon to release all the flavor infused brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Step 4: Fill the slow cooker
Transfer the sautéed vegetables and beef stock to the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
Cover the slow cooker, and cook until the vegetables are soft, and the beef is tender. Adjust seasoning, if needed and serve warm.
Harvest Beef Stew
- 2 pounds stew beef cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 onions chopped
- 4 carrots cut into chunks
- 2 celery sliced
- 3 cloves garlic diced
- 4 potatoes cut into chunks
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon cane sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme or 4 sprigs of fresh
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- In a large bowl, blend pepper, salt, and flour together until combined. Add stew beef and toss to coat.
- Add the beef to the hot skillet and sear until browned all over, about 4-5 minutes. You may have to do this in batches so you don't crowd the pan. Remove seared beef and add to your slow cooker. Leave behind the juices and brown bits.
- Add onions to the skillet and sauté until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add carrots, celery, garlic, and sauté 4-5 minutes more.
- Add 1 cup of beef broth to the skillet to deglaze the pan. As the broth bubbles and simmers, scrape the skillet with a wooden spoon to release all the flavor infused brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Turn off heat and transfer everything in the skillet to your slow cooker.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker: potatoes, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, paprika, bay leaves, thyme, and enough beef broth to cover. Stir to combine.
- Cover, and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or on high for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally until the beef is tender. Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs before serving. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
This recipe was originally published on November 6, 2016. It has be re-tested, and updated with more information and new photos.
You May Also Like:
- How to Make Chicken Stock – works for Beef Stock too.
- 14 Crops for Winter Food Storage
- Slow Cooker New England Baked Beans Recipe
- Slow Cooker Chili Recipe
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