Hearty Beef Stew {the perfect beef stew}

14 | December 15, 2010

It’s cold in Texas. I mean real cold, like 40-60 degrees cold. And although that is nothing to most of you, we Texans have fires in the fireplace and at least 4 sweaters and 2 pairs of socks on. I had our good friends over for a little casual dinner and was so tired of holiday cooking I was hoping that they were ok with a little stew. Observing their reactions I would say it was just fine.

This recipe is a combination of homestyle cooking techniques form some of the greatest women in my life. My mom, my grandmother, and a woman who had a big hand in raising me as a child and practically a family member, my RoRo. It’s just a simple recipe but speaks of generations.

Hearty Beef Stew serves 6

  • 2 to 3 pounds of stew meat (or if you have access cattle ranch just use an arm roast)
  • 3 Tbs flour
  • 1 Tbs Montreal Seasoning
  • 1 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 slice Hickory Smoked Bacon
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup red wine (whatever you would drink)
  • 5 cups beef stock
  • 2 cups carrots (about 6 large carrots)
  • 2 cups green beans
  • 1 pound new potatoes
  • 1 bay leaf

If you are using an arm roast like I did cube the meat into 2″ cubes. In a small bowl combine 2 Tablespoons of the flour and Montreal Seasoning. Pour the flour mixture over the meat and mix to coat evenly. {side note: by the way, is it really called an arm roast? I mean, just arm roast. That’s just what the processor says it is so really I have no clue and when you are dealing with a 900 pound animal I guess you just take his word for it.}

In a large dutch oven or stew pot, heat the oil on medium-high. Once hot add the beef and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to over crowd the pan. You really want to get a good sear on the meat. Chances are you will have to do this in two batches like I did if you have a smaller stew pot.

While this is browning, dice the onion and garlic.

Once it looks like this, remove to a plate and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onion, garlic and bacon into the pot. Add the salt to “sweat” the onion or get it to release all of those great flavors. Saute for about 5 to 8 minutes until the onions are translucent and the bacon has cooked through and melted a bit.

Return the meat back to the pot on top of the onions. Turn the heat up to high and add the wine. With a wooden spoon stir the bottom of the pan to release any of that caramelized goodness that has seared onto the pan.

Add the beef stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Here’s the thing about beef stocks and broth. A beef stock is typically used for rich sauces and stews. A stock is made by simmering bones, meat, vegetables and seasonings resulting in a richer taste and texture. A broth is made without bones and has a less intense taste and more fluid texture. For some reason and I have no clue why, it is hard to find a commercial stock or broth without processed MSG, a chemically compounded beef flavoring that I am highly allergic to. Even Wolfgang Puck stock has it! So beware it is really something we don’t need in our bodies. I have found that Kitchen Basics makes a great line without added MSG. Just so you know.

While the beef is simmering, peel and slice the carrots, snap the beans and discard the tough ends, and slice the potatoes in half or quarter if they are large.

After the beef has been simmering for 30 minutes, add the potatoes, carrots, and the green beans.

Add the bay leaf and stir. Cover and simmer on low for 1 hour.

Now to thicken it up just a bit. After one hour remove 1/2 cup of the stew stock. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour and whisk until completely dissolved. Slowly return to the stew while stirring. Simmer for another 20 minutes. Remove bacon and bay leaf and discard. Taste. Add salt or pepper if needed.

Now you are ready to serve! A nice piece of cornbread makes this meal complete.


  • Regina E.

    I wish I would have had this last week when I was making my first ever beef stew. it turned out ok… but this looks SOOO much better! Good thing I have more stew meat in my freezer! I will have to make this recipe when it gets cold…again… by the end of this week. (Texas weather SUCKS!)

    • In Sock Monkey Slippers

      Seriously, I know! The moment I post this it’s going to be 80° today after an entire week of being in the 40’s here.I just don’t get it.

  • kara

    This sounds amazing!

  • Elise

    Awesome. Sounds silly but I don’t have a beef stew recipe! Thanks

  • Maggie

    YUM!!!!!! Thanks for posting

  • leigh


  • melinda Smith

    Looks great. Going to have to make it soon. My husband always says I should find a recipe for stew. I think he’s just trying to tell me he doesnt like mine :)

  • rachel

    So this popped up in mu email box this morning and immediately had to cook it! Result: AMAZING! BEST STEW EVER. Please don’t tell my mother that.

  • uersline

    I usually put noodles in mine. I’ll have to try potatoes. Thanks

  • TuCocina

    What gorgeous pictures! It’s almost like we were there right next to you, but better. Congratulations on creating such a beautiful blog.


  • Kim Kellison

    We were privileged to partake in the beef stew experience. The stew was spectacular! Thanks, neighbor!

  • Jean Christian

    What ingredients to you use to make your Montreal Seasoning? I live in Florida and have not heard of it before. I am looking forward to making this recipe. Thanks.

    • In Sock Monkey Slippers

      I find it in the spice and cooking isle at the grocery store. It’s basically large flakes of ground pepper, kosher salt, and toasted garlic. If you can’t find toasted garlic flakes, fresh ground black pepper and kosher salt will do just fine. Hope you like it!

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