Have you ever had a stew so good you feel like thanking everybody? That’s what this dutch oven beef stew will do to you.
It’s got that classic beefiness and tender texture, but the flavor is damn near cosmic despite the low ingredient profile. Ingredients like pears, habanero, and all spice that you don’t typically associate with each other come together and produce magic.
BEEF STEW INGREDIENTS
For the Puree
- Asian pear – the sweetness of the pear balances against the heat from the habanero. Anjou or Bosc make good substitutes for Asian pears. Kiwi is another good substitute as similar to Asian pears it’s highly acidic which means it helps tenderize the beef when cooking.
- Fire-roasted tomatoes – as part of the puree, they help give the stew more depth of flavor in the same way that tomato paste does.
- Red onion
- Red bell pepper
- Garlic Cloves
- Habanero Pepper
For the Beef Stew
- Chuck Roast
- Sweet Potatoes
- Fresh Okra (Optional)
- All spice
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Bay leaves
- Fresh Thyme sprig
- Red wine
- Beef broth
- Soy sauce
DUTCH OVEN BEEF STEW COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
Make the puree
Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, habanero (seeds and veins removed), pear, garlic, and onions to a blender or food processor. Pulse to a coarse consistency for a little texture.
Make the Stew
Slice the beef into half inch chunks. You don’t want these too small as they will cook too fast and you’ll miss the ideal tenderness.
Preheat dutch oven on medium heat. Add oil and once hot brown the beef. Make sure to brown all sides. Remove the beef and set aside.
Add 2 cups of the puree to the pot and mix well. Add half the spices and mix more.
Add wine and deglaze the pan cooking for 1-2 minutes. Add broth, soy, bay leaf and fresh thyme. Bring everything to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the beef back, cover the pot and bake in the oven for an hour at 325 degrees.
Cut sweet potatoes into thick diagonal slices and add to the pot. Cook for another 45 minutes. If using the okra, add the last 15 minutes of cooking.
The beef stew should be fairly thick, but if not to your preferred level, make a quick slurry (mix a cup of water and a tablespoon of corn starch in a bowl) and stir into stew.
COOKING CONSIDERATIONS AND TIPS
Choose The Right Beef Cut
All beef ain’t good beef when it comes to stew. Stay away from the lean cuts and go with cheaper tough cuts with lots of collagen. I prefer chuck roast or beef round. Long, slow cooking of tough cuts equal juicy tender cuts of beef.
Don’t buy “stew meat.” Cut your own chunk into preferred chunk sizes.
Brown the meat before braising
Don’t be the person that just throws the beef and all the other ingredients in the pot at the same time. Give each side of the beef chunks a good sear to start things. Sounds minor, but the results are big in the form of deeper flavor. Every step matters when you’re trying to get to great.
Slow Your Roll When Adding Vegetables
Don’t be in a rush to add your vegetables. The sweet potatoes are hard and sturdy, so you’ll be okay with them. But more delicate veggies will basically turn to mush if added too early. If using okra, then you definitely want to add a little late.
No Need To Add Flour To Thicken
Many recipes call for coating the beef in flour before cooking to ensure a thicker stew. You can definitely do this if its your preference, but the puree actually plays a similar role. And if you are using the okra, you’ll get similar thickness to gumbo.
Keep the Vegetable Ingredient List Simple
I’m a Texas guy, and Texas style chili influenced this recipe meaning it doesn’t rely on many ingredients beyond the gravy and beef. Most dutch oven beef stew recipes include lots of different vegetables. Not this one; you’re certainly in your right to add whatever you want, but this is hearty and flavorful enough without.
Deglaze the Pan
The combination of broth, wine, and soy sauce add some real flavor and take this stew up more than a notch. Add the wine first to cook off some of the alcohol, but more importantly deglaze the pan with it, scraping up on the brown bits which equal mo flavor! If you have the time or forethought, make your own homemade stock ahead of time. This way you can control salt content and get more flavor.
MAKE THIS RECIPE
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For the Puree
- 1 Asian pear cored, peeled, and roughly chopped
- 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 medium red onion roughly chopped
- 1 red bell pepper roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 habanero de-seeded and de-veined
For the Stew
- 1 medium sweet potato cut into thick diagonal slices
- 1 lb chuck roast cut into 1/2 inch chunks
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tbsp all spice
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 2 cups red wine
- 1 cup chicken or beef broth
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1/2 pound fresh okra sliced short-wise
Make the Puree
- Purée the tomatoes, bell pepper, habanero, pear, garlic, and onions. Set aside.
Make the Stew
- Allow beef to reach room temperature. Season with salt and pepper
- Brown in all sides, remove and set aside.
- Add 2 cups of purée to the pot and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add half the spices.
- Add the wine deglazing the bottom of the pan. Cook 1-2 minutes to cook off alcohol. Add soy, broth, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil then simmer 5 minutes.
- Add the beef back. Cover and bake in the oven for 1 hour at 325 degrees.
- Add sweet potatoes and cook for another 30-45 minutes. Add the okra last 15 minutes of cooking.
- If not cook to desired consistency then add a water + corn starch slurry.