Cold night. Glass of red. Ugg boots. Game of Thrones. Hearty beef stew. Bliss!
Everyone has their favourite beef stew recipe and this is mine. You might not have all of the ingredients on hand but it’s totally okay to skip some of them. I often make a slight variation of this recipe anyway, depending on what I have on hand, so think of it as a template to work from.
I often use a cheaper cut of beef and slow-cook this stew for a few hours until the meat is succulent, tender and breaking apart. This time I used beef scotch fillet as it was on special. Scotch fillet is basically rib-eye fillet without the bone and it will cook in half the time. For a cheaper version, use something like beef skirt, chuck or rump roast, but make sure to add an extra hour to Part 1 cooking time (noted in the recipe below).
I like to add a little kick to my stew, so you will notice an addition of chilli and a few other ingredients that mingle together to create magic in the pot. I encourage you to try the recipe as is but if you omit things like star anise or fennel seeds, it will still work out well.
If avoiding dairy, replace the cream with 1 tablespoon of butter or ghee. I realise butter is dairy but it’s 90% fat with little milk solids left; ghee is almost 95% fat, with hardly any milk solids left. Unless you’re super sensitive to all dairy, butter is usually well tolerated and it’s pretty awesome! Of course, you can go without and the stew will still turn out amazing, maybe not as rich.
And finally, I use a little dry sherry in this recipe and you might think, ‘Who has sherry in their house?’. Well, you should! Get yourself a little bottle of decent dry sherry and use it stews, casseroles and sauces to add depth and complexity. If not, go without!
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (alternatively, use some lard or ghee)
- 1 large brown onion, diced
- 1 small red chill, diced finely
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 kg / 2.2 lb grass-fed beef scotch fillet or rump steak, diced into 2-cm cubes
- ½ cup red or white wine
- 1 tablespoon coconut amigos or Tamari gluten-free soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms (optional but delicious)
- 2 large garlic cloves, diced
- ⅔ teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 30 ml dry sherry, optional (that’s about 1 shot glass; dry port can also be used)
- 3-4 fresh thyme sprigs (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- ¼ teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)
- 1 star anise
- 1 litre / 4 cups of good quality beef stock or bone broth
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 celery sticks, peeled and sliced
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 5-6 fresh button mushrooms, sliced
- 1½ tablespoons tapioca flour or arrowroot flour
- 2 tablespoons heavy, thick cream OR 1 tablespoon of butter (optional)
- Heat coconut oil in a heavy casserole pot and add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring a few times, until softened, then add the salt, chilli (if using) and pepper. Stir through.
- Add the beef and cook until the meat colour changes to desaturated red, about 5 minutes. Stir a few times.
- Add the wine, coconut amigos or Tamari sauce, apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice), dried mushrooms, garlic, sherry, thyme, fennel seeds, rosemary, star anise and nutmeg. Pour in the stock, stir and bring to a boil.
- Cooking part 1. Cook with a lid on, on low heat, for 1 hour 15 minutes. If using a cheaper, tougher cut of beef, increase the time to 2 hours and 15 minutes.
- Cooking part 2. After 1 hour and 15 minutes, add the carrots, celery, sweet potato, fresh mushrooms and cook with the lid on for 10 minutes. Then, remove the lid and cook uncovered, over medium heat for 15 more minutes. This will start the process of evaporation and thickening of the stew liquid.
- Finally, add a few tablespoons of the stew liquid to a cup. Add and whisk the tapioca or arrowroot flour until dissolved. Add the dissolved tapioca liquid back to the beef stew and stir. The stew will thicken. Add the cream (or butter) and stir through until glossy. Remove from heat and serve with a side of green vegetables or cauliflower rice.