Updated January 2021
This Hearty Beef and Red Wine stew has been on my site for 7 years now is another great winter dish. It was originally inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe Jools’ Favourite Beef Stew but I have but I had to make my own tweaks to it. As the years have passed I have added more little changes and I think this recipe is just the way I want it. Particularly in this really cold weather I am always happy to know there is a batch in the freezer!
The beauty of this kind of dish is that you can adapt it to your own tastes. You can really add any root vegetable to it such as sweet potatoes or parsnips. I use large chunky carrots and butternut squash here, some diced quite small. the smaller pieces break down into the sauce slightly and thickens it. You could also put some potatoes directly into the stew and serve it in a bowl with some bread and salad. I prefer to serve it with creamy mash for ultimate comfort food and some steamed green beans or broccoli for freshness. I know a lot of recipes say to brown the beef first, but Jamie took the hard work out of this and said it is just as good without the extra effort. Who am I to argue? When choosing a cut of beef for this, I like to go for shoulder, chuck, shin or flank in stews; it slow cooks beautifully and falls apart when the stew is done. You want a cut with a lot of flavour which usually means a lot of muscle so it takes time to break that down. Make sure to use a bottle of wine that you would actually drink. Then drink the rest with the stew!
This is another dish that tastes good the day after you make it and freezes really well.
Hearty Beef and Red Wine Stew
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 125g streaky bacon cubed or sliced into small pieces
- A small knob of butter
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 stick of celery, finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed or finely chopped
- Fresh thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 900g stewing steak cut into large cubes
- 5/6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1 small or ½ a large butternut squash, halved, deseeded and some diced into small pieces and some larger pieces.
- 3 tablespoons of tomato purée
- ½ a bottle of red wine
- 500ml beef or vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
- Preheat your oven to 160C/140C fan/gas mark 2.
- Put a little oil into a casserole dish and heat over a medium-high heat. Add the bacon and fry until it browns.
- Reduce the heat, add the butter and onions and celery. Allow them to cook slowly until they are soft but not browned, about 15 minutes.
- Tie some sprigs of fresh thyme together and add them with the bay leaves and the garlic and fry for a further minute.
- Season the flour with the salt and pepper and toss the meat in the flour until it is lightly dusted. Add to the casserole dish.
- Add all of your vegetables, tomato purée, wine, balsamic vinegar and stock and gently stir together.
- Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and a little salt, remember the bacon will be salty.
- Bring to a gentle boil, place a tight fitting lid on top, then cook in the preheated oven until the meat is tender. How long this takes depends on the cut of meat you are using and how large the cubes of beef are. The best way to test is to break the a piece of the meat with a fork and if it falls apart easily, it’s ready. It usually takes 3 hours in my oven.
- At this point I like to let it cool and keep it in the fridge overnight. The next day scrape any solid excess fat off the top and discard. Reheat gently on the hob.
- Remove the thyme and bay leaves before serving and taste to see if it needs more seasoning. Serve with a big pile of creamy mash or with some good crusty white bread.