You guys know that I love comfort food. Childhood memories are some of my favorite dishes to re-create. Today’s recipe is the perfect example. My mother makes one of the best beef stews – slow cooked, thick and chunky, and so delicious. Her version has barley which I loved at the time, but have now eliminated due to gluten. After playing around with several different recipes, I finally found perfection! Simply put, this is the best beef stew I’ve had since my mom’s!
There are a few keys to getting this beef stew just right. First is high quality meat. My butcher happily does the work for me by cutting up a chuck roast into small chunks of stew meat. Since tougher cuts of meat like chuck roast are usually cheaper, I find that grass-fed beef is an affordable option. When my farmer has stew meat in stock, I will fill up my freezer with local grass-fed meat instead of store bought.
Secondly, be patient with browning the meat. I coat the pieces of stew meat with rice flour and then brown them up in some ghee or coconut oil. Leave plenty of space between the little chunks – you want them to brown, not steam! For this recipe I usually need to cook the meat in 3-4 batches. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it is worth it. My husband actually said he could tell that I took extra time preparing the meat for this dish without any prompting from me. No arguing, do it.
Third, rice flour. Most beef stew recipes call for coating the meat in wheat flour in order to get a crust on the meat and to later thicken the stew. I thought about skipping this step, but the reason I love stew is for the lovely, thick broth! I opted for rice flour and it works perfectly. If you are grain-free, this step could easily be skipped or you could try substituting coconut flour.
Finally, get yourself a good stock pot. This is the one I use and I love it! I was a gift from my husband and it will last my lifetime. You will be simmering your stew on the stovetop for three hours. A good stock pot will help you avoid hot spots as well as excessive evaporation, allowing even cooking and no burning.
So let’s get to the deliciousness! I hope you love this stew as much as I do. If beef stew isn’t your thing, make sure to check out some of my other childhood favorites: Homemade Corned Beef, Polish Stuffed Peppers, and Pot Roast with Root Vegetables.
- 2 pounds of beef stew meat
- 1/3 cup rice flour
- Ghee or coconut oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 cups of bone broth (a clean store bought version or homemade)
- 1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 springs of fresh rosemary and 6 springs of fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 3 celery stalks, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 8 red skin potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
- Place the meat and the rice flour in a plastic bag. Shake the bag to evenly coat all of the pieces of meat with the flour.
- Melt enough ghee or coconut oil to coat the bottom of your stock pot over medium heat.
- Place a single layer of meat (with space between each piece) in the melted fat and fry until deeply browned. Flip each piece over and brown the other side. Remove the meat to a bowl and repeat until all the meat has been browned.
- If you have burned rice flour in the stock pot, either wash the pot or wipe it out. If you just have some browned pieces, don't worry about wiping it out.
- Add more fat to the pan and fry the diced onion until lightly browned.
- Add the browned meat and the rest of the ingredients to the stock pot, stirring to combine.
- Bring the beef stew to a simmer and then cover.
- Cook over low heat (keeping a simmer) for 3 hours.
- Before serving, remove the herb bundle. All of the leaves will have fallen out into the stew and the stems should be easy to grab as they are tied together.