Kitchen Diva

Serve Up a Bowlful of Comfort

This saucy beef stew is a bowlful of comfort on a cold day, or it makes a hearty sandwich for supper on a warm one.
Angela Shelf Medearis, March 2018

Many kids dislike the soft vegetables usually found in stew. If you’re having trouble getting your children to eat stew, try this saucy beef recipe — adapted from the wonderful cookbook “Real Food for Healthy Kids: 200-Plus Easy, Wholesome Recipes,” by Tracey Seaman and Tanya Wenman Steel.

This rendition is made without carrots or potatoes so you can serve it — with its thick, rich gravy — over a mash of potatoes and parsnips, or a mound of fluffy rice. Add a side dish of crisp vegetables, or a salad, and serve it with some hot, crusty French bread, and you’ve got a meal that will please the pickiest eater.

This recipe is perfect for a crockpot or for slow-cooking in a roasting pan in the oven. If you’re planning to prepare this stew in a slow cooker, follow steps one and two and then place the meat and the sauce in a crockpot, add the fresh or dried rosemary and thyme, cover and cook on low for 7 hours or until tender.

Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her website is

Saucy Beef Stew

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

5 pounds lean beef chuck, cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 extra-large onions, finely diced

5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 quart low-sodium beef broth

2 cups filtered water

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 sprigs each fresh rosemary and thyme (or 1 teaspoon each dried)

Step 1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 6-to 8-quart heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Add a third of the beef, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the oil, the remaining beef and more salt in two batches.

Step 2. Add the last tablespoon of oil, and the onions and garlic to the pot; cook, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on top and cook, stirring constantly until thick and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the broth, water, vinegar and tomato paste. Bring to a boil.

Step 3. Return meat to the pan, add rosemary and thyme, and return to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours.

Step 4. Uncover pot and continue simmering for up to 30 minutes, until the meat is tender but still holds its shape. Remove the sprigs and season to taste before serving.


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