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How to Make Beef Stew & How to Thicken Beef Stew

How to Make Beef Stew & How to Thicken Beef Stew

Last Updated on 24th February 2022 by Pauline

Beef stew is a meal in a bowl, full of comforting veggies cooked to tender perfection and hearty, slow cooked beef. While you can serve some sides with this soup, you probably won’t need to.

Between the beef, potatoes, and other ingredients, it’s a very filling dish that’s certainly worth the long prep time involved.

You may be intimidated by how long it takes to make beef stew, but let me just say up front that it’s a pretty simple dish to make.

I’ll share with you how to make beef stew in a way that’s not overly complex. I think you’ll find that it’s not difficult at all, and the finished soup is definitely rewarding either because of or despite the time involvement.

What Goes in a Beef Stew

Beef stew is often made with a lot of vegetables- potatoes, carrots, onions, and sometimes celery. You can add other veggies as well to fill out the stew or even use a frozen or canned vegetable mix.

These are cooked until tender so that they offer no resistance when you bite through them, but not cooked so much that they become mushy.

How Long to Cook Beef Stew

If you’re using an Instant Pot, that’ll be the quickest way to make this. That method will take 30 to 45 minutes. The slow cooker takes much longer.

On the highest heat setting, it’ll take 4 to 5 hours, but on a lower setting, can take as long as nine or 10 hours to cook the beef all the way through.

The slow cooker method for how to cook beef stew meat is used because it creates a really tasty, tender, and succulent beef. If you cook the beef too quickly, you’re not going to get that traditional texture that people love so much.

Instead, it will be kind of tough and may not be cooked thoroughly. The method you use will depend on what kind of cooking tools you have available and how much time you want to devote to this dish.

How to Cook Beef Stew in a Crock Pot

Cooking times for the crockpot maybe a little long, but the process is really simple, so I think the tradeoff is worth it. Let me share a recipe with you for how to cook beef stew using the crockpot method.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of beef chuck
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 chopped onion
  • ½ teaspoon of thyme
  • 3 cups of peeled and cubed potatoes
  • 1 cup of sliced celery stalks
  • 2 cups of sliced carrots
  • 1 teaspoon of rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups of beef broth
  • 1 cup of vegetable juice
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 3/4 cup of peas
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mixed together flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then, toss the beef in the flour mixture.
  2. In a skillet on low heat, brown the beef along with onions in olive oil. Cook them in small batches and add a little bit of the broth to the pan.
  3. Pour all of your ingredients into a slow cooker, except for the corn starch and peas. Click on high for four to five hours. (Using a low setting, it will take 8-9 hours.) Cook until the beef is tender.
  4. Mix together 2 tablespoons of water and your cornstarch. Stir the slurry into the stew, only adding a little bit at a time as needed to thicken.
  5. Then, add in the peas, cover the slow cooker and cook for 10 minutes. Season the stew using salt and pepper. 

How to Thicken Beef Stew

If you made beef stew and it came out a little too thin, that’s not a problem. You can simply thicken it using some cornstarch and water.

You don’t want to put the cornstarch directly into the stew. Instead, mix a tablespoon of cornstarch at a time in water until it forms a slurry. Add a little bit to your beef stew and mix. If it’s still not thick enough, continue adding until it thickens adequately.

How to Make Beef Stew on the Stove

You can make this do on the stovetop as well. You’ll need to combine all your seasonings into a small bowl and cut the beef into small pieces.

You’ll be using a large Dutch oven for this method, and it should be heated with vegetable oil on medium high. Place as much of the beef as you can on the Dutch oven pan without overcrowding. Add a little spice to the beef and sauté until it browns. Do this with all your beef.

You can add some more oil at that point and then place your onion, celery, add any fragrant seasonings like garlic into the Dutch oven.

Cook until they become soft, stirring as they cook. You can add your beef broth, spices, and Worcestershire sauce to the pot and heat until its boiling.

Then, add the beef and heat again until boiling. From there, bring the heat down to low, cover the pot and allow to simmer for an hour and a half. It should cook until the beef is tender.

Then, add in carrots and potatoes and increase the heat until the soup starts to boil. Next, bring the heat back down to low, cover and simmer again for another 35 minutes. When the vegetables are tender, you can add in the peas, cornstarch, and water. Cook until it thickens adequately.

This method for how to cook beef stew works if you don’t have a slow cooker or you want to speed up the process a little bit.

What to Serve with Beef Stew

Beef stew can be served alongside breads like Italian and toasted garlic, corn on the cob, a fresh salad, cheese sticks, or meat and veggie skewers for a hearty meal.

It’s a perfect cold weather meal when everybody needs to warm up and you just want to throw everything into a pot and be done with it.

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