Beef and potato stew is one of those dinners that everyone knows and loves, especially here in the north. On cold, dark days, richly flavours, slow-cooked beef that falls apart in your mouth is always a tantalising treat, after all.
There is no one, single recipe for beef and potato stew, as with any stew, it always works best with what you have on hand. Stew, like soup, is incredibly forgiving when it comes to flavours, and you can always add a little bit of this and that as it bubbles away.
Want more pepper? Go ahead!
Prefer more thyme? Feel free!
If you want to add any additional vegetables or herbs to this stew I will only ever encourage you. However, we will discuss ingredients a little further done.
Now, let’s talk about gravy. When it comes to stews, many people will coat the beef with flour prior to browning, which in turns creates the thick gravy needed for a stew, I prefer to create a roux. By creating a roux to thicken the source, you give yourself greater control over the depths of flavour.
You want to create a roux (a paste made of butter and flour) that is a deep, rich brown colour. This will thicken the sauce, as well as add a deep, rich colour to the gravy, which is exactly what we want. By flouring the meat, rather than creating a roux, you can often end up with quite a pale, unappealing gravy.
And stews are all about the gravy!
In my youth, my mum always ate her stew with slices of bread and butter that she would use to mop up any traces of gravy after a good stew. And although I don’t subscribe to this habit myself, I can certainly see the appeal! Especially when the gravy is as good as it is in this beef and potato stew recipe.
Onto the ingredients…
Beef: I beef brisket in this recipe, although you could use any cut of beef you would prefer. Simply ensure it is a cut, such as brisket, that lends itself to slow cooking, and tenderises rather than toughens throughout the cooking process.
Potatoes: I specify baby or jazzy potatoes as these are both small and bite-sized. These smaller potatoes also tend to be sweeter than their larger counterparts. If you don’t have either of these available, feel free to use any wax potato you have on hand, simply diced into large chunks.
Carrots: Chantenay carrots are small and sweet, and add an amazing flavour to this stew. If you are unable to find these in your local supermarket, feel free to use everyday carrots, diced into large chunks.
Stock: I always use a quality liquid stock, or beef stockpot. Using powdered stocks or stock cubes can sometimes create an unnatural flavour, or lean towards the salty side.
Herbs: Although I have specified the herbs I use, feel free to add, subtract and experiment as you wish.
Hearty Beef & Potato Stew Recipe
- 700g beef brisket, diced
- 500g baby potatoes
- 300g carrots, Chantenay
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, brown, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- 3 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp parsley, dried
- 1/2 tsp marjoram
- 1/4 tsp thyme, dried
- 2 cups beef stock
- 2 tbsp salted butter
- 2 tbsp plain flour
Stew, Step 1
- Heat oil over medium heat, and cook onions for 10 minutes until soft and starting to colour.
- Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.
- Add beef, and brown over medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
- Next, add potatoes, carrots, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, mustard powder and herbs, and stock.
- Stir well before covering, and reducing heat to low. Simmer covered for 2 1/2 hours.
- In a small pot, heat butter over medium-high heat until melted and starting to bubble.
- Add flour to butter, and using a whisk stir consistently and cook until a dark brown colour.
Stew, Step 2
- Uncover stew, and stir through roux until well combined.
- Simmer uncovered an additional 45 minutes to an hour, or until sauce has thickened.
- Serve with crusty bread.
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