Nothing says comfort food to me like beef stew. I remember growing up and smelling it simmering when I walked in the door and being so excited for dinner. It warmed up my insides after a cold day playing in the snow or sometimes just walking home in the cold. I wanted to be able to share this recipe with my family and weekends seemed too limiting for a meal that just made you feel good anytime. I came up with a bit of a quicker way to make beef stew so that I can meal plan for a beef stew any night of the week and we all can enjoy the hearty goodness of it.
Thick, Hearty & Healthy Weeknight Beef Stew
The basics of beef stew are obviously the beef, the vegetables and the gravy that it cooks in. It is a complete meal in one pot or in a slow cooker, depending on how you decide to prepare it. The stew meat that I used was from my Thrive Market Sampler Box and it was tender and delicious. I browned it first in a tablespoon of avocado oil and some salt and pepper. Root vegetables hold up well in a stew but I found that sometimes my vegetables would get too soft in the slow cooker. That is why I love this quick option to make it on the stove in a dutch oven or large pot because the vegetables are cooked but maintain some firmness. If you prefer to come home to a completed meal in your slow cooker it works just as well, it’s really up to you.
The tomato paste is a neat trick because it gives the stew a bit more flavor but it also thickens the gravy a bit and gives you just the right consistency. I have always found that adding flour to thicken never works out for me and I always have clumps of white flour on top and the stew tends to remain too watery for my taste. It is even more difficult to achieve thickness in a slow cooker because it is harder to get the broth to boil. Fear not! The tomato paste is a perfect option and adds a hint of flavor without being overwhelming.
Beef stew is great as a leftover as well. You can bring it to work for a lunch, heat it up later in the week for a main meal or freeze your leftovers for another time all together. I freeze some beef stew in individual containers so that I can defrost it quicker and easier. I also hate to waste it because it tastes so delicious even reheated. If you find that when you are reheating it it is a bit thick you can add more beef or chicken broth to give it more gravy. Add some crusty bread with butter and you have a terrific weeknight meal that is both healthy and hearty. Add this beef stew recipe to your unprocessed food favorites!
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Weeknight Beef Stew
- 2 lb stew meat bite sized pieces
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 5 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
- 6 carrots peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup onion chopped
- 32 oz chicken or beef broth
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the avocado oil the bottom of a dutch oven over medium heat. Brown stew beef on all sides.Add the vegetables to the dutch oven and cook for about 5 minutes, the carrots and onion should begin to soften and the garlic become fragrant.Stir in the broth, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce and spices, heat to a boil.Add the tomato paste and continue to simmer until the meat and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.