Right now is probably one of the few times of the year when weather in the northern and southern hemispheres is roughly the same. Cool, but with the occasional gloriously sunny day. And the occasional stretch of really cold rainy days where all one craves is a wonderful, thick stew. I don’t have a solution for the rain, but this baked beef stew recipe will at least help you out in the “What’s for dinner?” category.
This was my first-ever baked stew attempt, and probably the first time I’d ever eaten a baked stew, too. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a few places—a desire for Julia Child’s beef bourguignon, a find of some particularly cheap cuts of beef, and an attempt to not use a slow cooker. Slow cookers are so convenient, but I realize that not everyone has one. Hopefully almost everyone has an oven, however!
This baked beef stew is quite simple to make, and while it requires a few hours in the oven, it’s well worth the wait. The long baking period ensures that all the vegetables are soft and succulent, while the beef becomes tender and juicy. Probably my favourite part of this recipe was the roasted garlic cloves—sweet little gems of flavour that studded the stew (and without the garlicky after-breath). This recipe is especially good if you have some fresh herbs to use, such as sprigs of thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil, or really anything!
Baked Beef Stew
Cooking time: 20 minutes hands-on, 2+ hours baking
- 600 g / 1.5 lbs stewing beef, cubed into bite sized pieces
- 2-3 tbsp flour (or enough to lightly coat the beef)
- 2 onions, chopped fairly coarsely
- 1 head of garlic, peeled but cloves whole
- 3 carrots, peeled and cubed into bite sized pieces
- 3 potatoes, washed and cubed into bite sized pieces
- large handful of mushrooms, halved or whole depending on size
- 1 tin diced tomatoes, with juice (4oo ml / 16 oz)
- 2 cups prepared vegetable or beef stock
- 1 cup red wine (or the same amount of stock plus 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar)
- 1 tsp each dried spices, such as: marjoram, oregano, parsley
- small handful fresh herbs (or sprigs), such as: parsley, oregano, rosemary, basil, etc.
Preheat your oven to 325 F / 160 C.
Make sure your cubed beef is fairly dry (pat it with a paper towel), then toss with the flour to coat it slightly. Brown it on a lightly oiled frying pan just until you can see no pink on the sides. Set aside.
After chopping all your vegetables, combine them together in a large baking pan or casserole dish, about 9 x 14″ or 23 x 35 cm large. A heavier bottomed dish is best, such as glass or stoneware, as this will distribute the heat better throughout. Toss vegetables lightly with oil and dried spices over top (with a bit of freshly ground black pepper for good measure). Add beef, tomatoes, wine, and stock. Lay fresh spices over top, if using.
Cover your dish with foil (or the lid if it has one), and bake for 2+ hours, until vegetables are soft and beef has become tender. I baked mine for almost 3 hours, and if I’d had the time I think I would have left it in even a bit longer… I got impatient and wanted to eat! The longer you bake it, the more tender the beef will become. Do check on it once an hour or so, to ensure even cooking and that your veggies aren’t getting too soft.
Serve with rice, crusty bread, or on its own. Makes great lunch leftovers too!