Italian Beef Stew

Happy November, everybody! Can you believe 2011 is almost over? I’m kind of freaking out over here. The good news is Halloween is over, fall is in full-swing, I can post soup and stew recipes and feel good about myself, and Thanksgiving (aka my favorite holiday) is on its way.

My friend told me about this stew and promised it was lick-the-bowl worthy. We already have a Beef Stew recipe that we love, and I still maintain its awesomeness, but that is a really great “toss it in the oven and forget about it” recipe, whereas this is a chilly, rainy, fall afternoon meal that you make with lots of love and fresh ingredients. It’s something you could serve to guests, and you can always freeze the leftovers and heat them up on a busy weeknight.

You’ll start with some chopped onion, carrot, and garlic. A little way down the road, you’ll also need some nice mushrooms (like baby portabella or cremini) and some cubed beef.

Chop the onions, some of the carrots, and the garlic and set it aside. Heat about a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil in a stock pot or a Dutch oven over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onions and carrots and saute for about 5 minutes or until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the garlic and saute it for about 1 more minute, stirring constantly. Remove it from the pan and set it aside.

Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pot. In a shallow dish, whisk together 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper.

Toss the beef in the flour

and then transfer the beef to the pot. Cook the beef on medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes, browning it on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Now you’ll need the liquid ingredients–Italian tomatoes, beef broth (or stock or water and beef base), and red wine or grape juice plus 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar.

Pour the wine (or juice/vinegar mixture) into the pan and allow it to deglaze the pan (loosen up the cooked bits on the bottom  of the pan). Scrape it regularly for about 5 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by about 2/3.

Return the meat and onion mixture to the pan. Add the undrained canned tomatoes, broth, and water. Now, seriously, this is my favorite part:

Aren’t all those fresh herbs gorgeous? We’ve got fresh basil, parsley, thyme, and oregano. Strip the thyme and oregano leaves from their stems and then chop up about 2 teaspoons of each. Add those to the stew mixture along with 1 bay leaf. We’ll use the basil and parsley a little bit later.

Add your mushrooms and some more chopped carrot to the stew. Bring it to a boil and then cover the stew and reduce the heat to a steady simmer for about 1 1/2-2 hours or until the beef is tender. Discard the bay leaf and then add some chopped parsley and basil and season with salt to taste. Serve it with crusty bread (and be sure to save some for the next day because it’s even yummier!)

Italian Beef Stew in serving dish

Italian Beef Stew

A delicious and hearty stew, perfect over mashed potatoes or served with crusty bread.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings8 main dish servings

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion about 1 medium onion
  • 1 1/4 cup chopped carrot divided
  • About 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning the stew at the end
  • 1 1/2-2 pounds cubed beef or beef stew meat
  • 1 cup dry red wine or 1 cup grape juice with 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 15- oz. cans diced Italian tomatoes undrained
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8-10 ounces sliced baby portabella or cremini mushroooms
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  •  

Instructions

  • Chop the onions, carrots, and mince the garlic and set it aside.
  • Heat about a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil in a stock pot or a Dutch oven over medium heat. When it's hot, add the onions and 1/2 cup of carrots and saute for about 5 minutes or until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the garlic and saute it for about 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
  • As vegetables are cooking, in a shallow dish, whisk together 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss the beef in the flour and toss until it's all coated. Set aside.
  • Remove all vegetables from the pan and set aside.  Place them in a dish that's larger than you need since you will also add the cooked meat to this same dish.
  • Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pot. Add beef to pot (do this step in 2 batches to avoid overcrowding) and sear until golden on all sides, about 5 minutes.  Remove beef from pan and add to vegetables.
  • Pour the wine (or juice/vinegar mixture) into the pan and allow it to deglaze the pan (loosen up the cooked bits on the bottom  of the pan). Scrape it regularly for about 5 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by about 2/3.
  • Return the meat and onion mixture to the pan. Add the undrained canned tomatoes, broth, water, oregano, thyme, bay leaf, mushrooms and remaining carrots.
  • Bring it to a boil and then cover the stew and reduce the heat to a steady simmer for about 1 1/2-2 hours or until the beef is tender.
  • Discard the bay leaf and then add chopped parsley and basil and season with additional salt to taste. Serve it with crusty bread or over mashed potatoes. Makes about 8 main dish servings.
  • Freezer Instructions: Prepare through deglazing the pan. Place all of the ingredients except for the water, fresh basil, and fresh parsley into a freezer bag or freezer safe container and freeze. Freeze the herbs separately in a small freezer safe bag. When ready to serve, place the contents of the large freezer bag and 1/2 cup of water into a slow cooker and cook on high for 6- 8 hours or on low for 8-10 hours. 1 hour before serving, add fresh herbs.
Keyword: beef stew recipe
Author: Kate Jones, adapted from Cooking Light
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Simmering away right now! I am going to make Pioneer Woman’s Crash Hot Potatoes to go along with it.

  2. I made this tonight, and while it did take a little while to make, it was worth it! The family agreed this was a home run! Thanks, Kate! P.s. I served with mashed potatoes, but I wouldn’t next time. Crusty bread would suffice as suggested.

  3. Would I be able to use grape juice with balsamic vinegar instead of the red wine vinegar? I have plenty of balsamic on hand, but would have to go buy some red wine vinegar.

  4. My daughter clued me in to your wonderful website and recipes. We have hunters in our family and a wealth of lean venison which lends itself well to several of your recipes like this on and the Shephed’s Pie – Thank You!

  5. i just made this and it was amazing. fresh herbs probably arent neccesary (i only used fresh basil) so if your on a budget this is still do-able. the broth looks beautiful.

  6. This looks wonderful! Rich and heavy. My favorite kind of stew. It looks a lot like what my hubby makes, but is different enough, I’m going to try it. Now we’ll have an alternate so that we can have stew MORE OFTEN!! 🙂

  7. being married to a vegetarian, i rarely get to eat beef stew, which is one of my favorite dishes from childhood. i love this italian spin on it!

  8. Love stew and even better would love the food calendar.
    August is my month.
    Keep up the great work

  9. Made this last night in my crockpot…didn’t use carrots or mushrooms (hubby won’t eat them)…used a deer roast…it was amazing!!!!! Served over rice. No leftovers!!!

  10. this looks amazing and its whats for dinner one night this week. i love getting these emails!! i take full credit with my hubby and kids for all your great ideas, by the way, and am loving all the praise. LOL!

  11. Seriously, where does the time go?! This stew looks delicious – perfect for a chilly fall day!

  12. Yum! I made this Friday night. I added diced yellow potatoes instead of carrots – delicious and hardy! It was a big hit with my girlfriends with crusty bread and a caprese salad. Thanks!

    1. I’ve only made it with the wine, I just wanted to offer an alternative for people who don’t drink alcohol. 🙂

  13. This looks very similar to my beef stew and I serve it over mashed potatoes which is to DIE for (I also dislike the mealy, mushy potatoes in most stews). Mine also calls for balsamic vinegar instead of the red wine vinegar and I like the deep richness it adds. I am sure this is delic!

  14. Why do you suggest extra virgin olive oil in a dish like this? Wouldn’t plain olive oil do just as well and cost less? I know using extra virgin in salad dressings, etc. is important for flavor, but in stew, that is cooked, does it make a difference?

    1. You can use any kind of oil you want, but I think the extra-virgin adds another dimension to the stew.

  15. I’m making caramelized onions tonight, only because I bought 5 pounds of onions last week and don’t know what else to do with them! Do you think they’ll taste good in the Italian stew? I was leaning toward pork, but the stew looks yummy!

  16. All the fresh herbs… sounds delicious, but I think it would break my budget. Would you please recommend amounts of dried herbs I could use to make this stew?

    1. I would use about 3/4 teaspoons of thyme and oregano, but if all possible, I’d try to track down some fresh basil–I know I can get it in my grocery store for about 1.49–just because I think it makes a huge difference. And parsley is dirt cheap. 🙂

  17. This sounds like a beef stew that I could really get into. I love stews and soups this time year and I think that adding the italian flavors probably gives a good change. Looks awesome too!

  18. This looks delicious! I love this time of year because you can eat food like this…not that it stopped me before but now I don’t get the weird looks when people find out what I’m eating! 🙂

  19. Where’s the beef? In the ingredient list, I mean. Am I just overlooking it because it is waaaaay beyond my bedtime?

  20. I agree! How are we less than 2 months away from 2012?? I swear this year has gone faster than the last!

    Can’t wait to try this Italian Beef Stew! Love that it’s easily freezable for easy lunches! 😀