A lovely tender beef stew with chunks of potatoes and carrots – after a few versions, this is my go-to version which works very well for us!
I only ever started appreciating beef stew when I went over to my sister’s house for dinner many years ago and she made the best beef stew and served it with rice. I sooo enjoyed it. Over the years, I’ve made a few versions but finally have nailed this one as my best.
Some of the ingredients are not my pantry staples – but they have become my beef stew staples. Such as bay leaf and balsamic vinegar. Actually these are the only two – the rest of the ingredients such as tomato paste, italian herbs etc I do use for various other dishes. There is no red wine used in this recipe as commonly used in some other recipes.
Let’s talk beef. The cut I use is called Beef Chuck or Chuck Tender. I cut them into small or medium sized pieces as if they are too big, my kids take 365 days to chew on them. I season the raw meat with salt and pepper.
Most if not all beef stew recipes, require the beef to be seared beforehand in batches. Why?
It builds flavour. When the meat hits the hot surface of a pan, it instantly begins caramelizing and results in massive flavour spreading thru into the liquid subsequently and then the vegetables as the stew cooks.
HOWEVER, I have skipped this step when I have just felt plain lazy and STILL had a very nice stew – see notes in the recipe card below.
For this beef stew, I use my stovetop pressure cooker to cut down on overall cooking time. I start by sauteeing some onions (after having seared the beef in the same pot then setting aside), then adding in the balsamic vinegar and garlic. In goes the seared beef and other ingredients.
I add in the liquid and beef stock cube and pressure cook on HIGH for 20 minutes.
After 20 mins, once pressure is released I open the lid and give it a good mix. Switch on back to heat on a medium boil and add in potatoes and carrots.
When cooking this for a further 15-20 mins, the potato and carrots will start to soften while the liquid will reduce and start thickening to stew consistency. Add salt to season and done.
This is a hit with the whole family and does indeed taste better the next day. We have it with rice. The beef should be tender while the vegetables nicely softened but not mushy. That’s how we like it.
How to Make Beef Stew
- 700g beef chuck cut into small/medium sized pieces, pat dry and mixed with 1 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 yellow onion sliced
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1/4 tsp Italian herbs
- 1 bay leaf
- 3/4 tsp sugar
- 1 potato cut into wedges
- 1 carrot sliced/cut into chunks
- 1 beef stock cube
- * I use a stovetop pressure cooker.Heat pressure cooker with 3-4 tbsp oil and fry beef in 2-3 batches. About 5 mins per batch (flipping mid way). Once done, scoop out and set aside.
- In same pressure cooker, add in onions and fry for 5 mins until soft and translucent. Add in balsamic vinegar and scrap up bits at bottom. Add in crushed garlic cloves and fry for half a min.
- Add tomato paste, beef with juices and flour. Mix well for 2 mins. Pour in 700-750ml water, crush in beef cube, add in bay leaf, sugar, herbs and close pressure cooker and cook on HIGH for 20mins.
- Once done, switch off flame and open lid when pressure is off. Mix and switch on flame to a medium boil. Add in carrots + potatoes and cook for further 15-20 mins or until veggies are tender to the bite. Add in 1/4 tsp salt or to your taste. Done.
- I prefer the stock cubes to the liquid chicken/beef stocks so I just use the cube.
- Be sure to get beef chuck (or sometimes called chuck tender). This is the right cut to make stew.
- Differing pressure cookers will differ in cooking times.
- Searing the beef (Step 1) helps to seal in the juices and build the flavour. I have also made this ala lazy cooking mode - where I skipped Step 1 and chucked in the beef after sauteeing onions and garlic - it tasted amazing too! So do what works for you:)