In the colder months I love to make stews. Not only are they a great way to warm you up, but they are also packed with flavour and incredibly easy to make. Due to the cuts of meat you generally use for a beef stew, they are also nice and cheap and can be used for several meals if you make a large batch at once.
One thing I find with a lot of stew recipes is that they make their soup thick and gelatinous by adding flour either to the meat or to the stew itself. Many people like their stews this way, but I personally don’t like the texture it gives the liquid and prefer to make a lighter, more brothy beef stew that focuses on flavour.
This beef stew offers a lot of complex flavours. Smokey paprika, tangy Dijon, the warm fragrance of the thyme and oregano and the slight kick of red wine all come together so perfectly.
I would suggest you use fresh herbs for this recipe instead of dried, as the ingredients are so few that you want to ensure the integrity of the flavours as much as possible. If you can’t get fresh herbs then see if you can find freeze-dried or semi-dried variants before you use the dried variety, as they tend to give a fresher flavour!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1kg silverside or topside beef
- 3 carrots
- 4 celery sticks
- 2 onions
- 3 cloves garlic
- Handful fresh oregano (1 tbsp dried)
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme (1 tbsp dried)
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 50g (1/4 cup) tomato paste
- 250ml (1 cup) red wine
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- Sprig of parsley to garnish (or just use celery fronds!)
- Large pot
- Chopping board
- Boning knife or equivalent for trimming meat
Chopping the Vegetables and Beef
- Slice the onions and dice or crush the garlic cloves.
- Roughly chop the celery and carrots so that the pieces are approximately the same size.
- Remove the thyme leaves from the stalks and finely chop the oregano.
- For the beef, you want to remove the sinew but leave the fat. We’re cooking this piece of meat for a lengthy period of time, so the fat is going to break down and give us flavour, while the sinew will add almost no flavour and will remain stringy and unpalatable.
- Once you have cleaned the meat of sinew, slice it up into uniform cubes.
Cooking the Beef Stew
- Heat up a large pot with your oil and cook the onions and garlic on a medium heat until the onions begin to go translucent.
- Add the beef and seal it off on all sides so that it is nicely browned. Season it thoroughly.
- Put the oregano, thyme, paprika, Dijon mustard and tomato paste into the pot with the beef and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously to coat the beef.
- Let the pot sit for a further minute, to allow it to heat up, and then pour in the red wine and stir.
- Add the vegetable stock and stir again. Bring the liquid to the boil and skim off any scum that comes to the surface, then reduce the heat to a simmer and leave for 2 hours. Make sure you stir it every 30 minutes so it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pot!
- Taste the stew and add more seasoning if needed. Serve.
This beef stew recipe is all about the flavour of the broth and my goal was to make something that will fill you up, but also feel a bit lighter than the thick, gloopy stews I’ve had in the past. If you do want to bulk the stew out, you can add potatoes, leeks or even some red capsicum to compliment the paprika. You could also spice this dish up with some chilli, either chilli powder or whole birds eye chillies would be great and would really add to the warmth of this stew.
You can serve this on its own or with some toasted sourdough or perhaps even some fried spätzle if you’re familiar with it (it’s fantastic and I’ll have to get a recipe up some time soon).
If you want a nice vegetarian soup option instead, check out my minestrone soup recipe!