Beef Stew

Beef Stew (Oven-baked Recipe)

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I think recipes such as this oven-baked beef stew or whole roast chicken make a noob cook look very clever, as they are easier to pull off than they looked. Stews are also perfect for entertaining and gatherings – you’ll impress your folks while feeding a lot at the same time. Beef stew is usually enjoyed by those staying in colder regions, but in tropical Singapore, I’m determined not to be deprived of this delicious dish.

Similar Recipe: Irish Beef Stew

Perhaps December is the best month to enjoy this stew with our wetter days and slightly cooler nights. Special thanks to my friend Joyce, who taught me this recipe (I adapted her recipe but it is still largely built around her original) and don’t mind that I share the recipe on my blog.

Printable Recipe
"Chunk Tender" cut for making beef stew A tip about the beef to use from my friend Joyce. You could buy ready-cut stew beef cubes, but you can save money if you buy a whole chunk of meat and cut it yourself. She recommended me to get the “chuck tender” cut found at the chiller section of Giant hypermart in Singapore and yes, it is economical and good.
Beef Stew (Oven-baked Recipe) If slicing your own meat, rinse and pat dry the meat with kitchen towel, then cut them to large cube chunks.
Beef Stew (Oven-baked Recipe) Season beef cubes with salt and pepper. Heat Dutch oven with olive oil, then add beef cubes one at a time (you will hear a gentle sizzle and see slight smoking) to form one layer on the pan. Do not overcrowd the meat. Let the cubes brown on one side, then flip over with kitchen tongs and brown on the other side. Take out browned meat and set aside. Add more oil to the casserole if needed and repeat until all the beef cubes are browned.
Beef Stew (Oven-baked Recipe) My browned beef cubes. For the lot of beef cubes I had, I browned them in 3 batches.Do not discard the brown bits or juices collected in the casserole. I learnt from watching cooking shows that browning meats is an important step when making stews and doing so add a lot of flavour to the stew.
Beef Stew (Oven-baked Recipe) Add a bit more olive oil to the casserole. Then add celery and onions and ‘sweat’ them on medium low heat (about 3 -5 minutes). You will see them turning brown from soaking the juices left in the casserole.
Beef Stew (Oven-baked Recipe) Pour a glass of red wine in and saute the celery and onions and wait a few seconds for the alcohol to evaporate (you smell the nice aroma of the wine).
Beef Stew (Oven-baked Recipe) Stir in 1 tbsp plain flour and cook for one minute more to thicken the mixture.
Beef Stew (Oven-baked Recipe) Add beef stock and when it comes to a simmer, add carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme, garlic, mushrooms and Worcester sauce. Bring the stew to a simmer.
Beef Stew (Oven-baked Recipe) While waiting for the stew to simmer, peel potatoes and quarter them.
Beef Stew (Oven-baked Recipe) By the time you are done with the potatoes, the pot will likely be bubbling away and the mushrooms would have shrunken somewhat, making space for more ingredients in the casserole.
Beef Stew (Oven-baked Recipe) Add potatoes and the previously browned beef cubes to the casserole.
Beef Stew (Oven-baked Recipe) When the stew is bubbling, turn off the stove. Cover the casserole with lid and transfer to an oven. Bake the casserole at 180°C (356°F) for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Beef Stew (Oven-baked Recipe) Take the casserole out and check the consistency of the stew. I find mine a little too watery so I add 1 more tbsp plain flour to thicken the stew. Stir through to dissolve the flour. Adjust to your liking. If it’s too dry, you can add more beef broth or hot water.
Beef Stew (Oven-baked Recipe) Add thawed frozen vegetables and mix into the stew.
Beef Stew (Oven-baked Recipe) Cover with lid and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the beef is tender. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, if needed.
Beef Stew (Oven-baked Recipe) Serve beef stew with rice or bread.

Beef Stew (Oven-baked Recipe)

This recipe calls for the stew to be slow-cooked in the oven instead of simmering on the stove top. To do that, a cast-iron Dutch oven will be perfect for the job, though you can use any oven-safe casserole. This recipe feeds about 4 to 6 persons, but I actually cooked this huge pot for two, with intention of leftovers for the next day. The thing about beef stew is that it stew tastes great the next day (can’t resist the cheap pun) so it’s worthwhile to cook a bit more.

Beef Stew Recipe

Add 1 canned tomatoes (either whole or chopped type) if you like a sweet tomato flavour for your stew. Your stew will be red instead of brown.

Serves: 4-6

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 2 hrs

Ingredients

  • 800g stew beef cubes (chunks)
  • olive oil
  • 4 stalks celery finely chopped
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 glass red wine
  • plain flour
  • 200g berastagi potatoes (or any hard potatoes)
  • 2 cups beef broth (or cheat by using 1 1/2 beef cube)
  • 4 carrots peeled and cut to chunks
  • 250 packet portebello mushrooms quartered
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp black peppercorns slightly crushed
  • 6 sprigs of thyme (can use any other herbs you have e.g. rosemary)
  • 1 garlic bulb separated into cloves and peeled
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Worcester (Worcestershire) sauce
  • 1 cup frozen vegetables(peas, corns and carrots) thawed
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Tools

  • Dutch oven or oven-safe casserole, at least 3-litre capacity
  • Kitchen tongs
  • Silicon oven gloves (for taking the hot casserole in and out of the oven)

Directions

  1. Season beef cubes with salt and pepper. Heat casserole with olive oil, then add beef cubes one at a time (you will hear a gentle sizzle and see slight smoking) to form one layer on the pan. Do not overcrowd the meat. Let the cubes brown on one side, then flip over with kitchen tongs and brown on the other side. Take out browned meat and set aside. Add more oil to the casserole if needed and repeat until all the beef cubes are browned.
  2. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the casserole. Then add celery and onions and 'sweat' them on medium low heat (about 3 -5 minutes).
  3. Pour a glass of red wine in and saute the celery and onions and wait a few seconds for the alcohol to evaporate (you smell the nice aroma of the wine).
  4. Stir in 1 tbsp plain flour and cook for one minute more to thicken the mixture.
  5. Add beef stock and when it comes to a simmer, add carrots, mushrooms, bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme, garlic and Worcester sauce. Bring the stew to a simmer.
  6. Add potatoes and return the browned beef cubes to the casserole.
  7. When the stew is bubbling, turn off the stove. Cover the casserole with lid and transfer to an oven. Bake the casserole at 180°C (356°F) for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  8. Take the casserole out and check the consistency of the stew. Tweak it by adding more flour (1 tbsp at a time, stir through to mix well) if the stew is too watery, or more beef broth/hot water if the stew is too dry.
  9. Add thawed frozen vegetables and mix into the stew. Cover with lid and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the beef is tender. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, if needed. Serve beef stew with rice or bread.

Noob Cook Tips

  1. If you do not wish to bake the stew, you can simmer on the stove top till the beef is tender and the gravy is reduced to a consistency of your liking.
  2. To adjust the consistency of the stew gravy, add beef stock or hot water for more liquid and plain flour for thicker gravy.