For those days when your mojo has left the building, you need my easy beef stew recipe. Put it on to cook and walk away, because some days it’s hard to find the energy to think of something to cook, let alone cook it. You want tasty, but also need budget and kid-friendly. Nourishing, but not fussy or needing fancy ingredients…cue easy beef stew. You get the idea, I’m sure.

What I like about easy beef stew is that it’s flexible with what vegetables and flavourings (herbs and spices) you use, so you could make it a weekly guest on your meal planner and it can taste a bit different each time. Eating a variety of vegetables, herbs and spices keeps it interesting for all of us, including those little bugs living in our intestines, making up our microbiome. (If you’d like to read more about the gut and our microbiome, then have a look at my past blogs here.)

To make life easy, I buy meat in bulk. It comes nicely packed in 500g lots, and stacks nicely in my freezer. This means I nearly always have something to cook with, because I have a vegetable delivery each week that keeps basics in the fridge for me. Having ingredients in the fridge, freezer and pantry makes it so much easier for you to eat nourishing, nutrient dense foods. Ask at your local butcher if they give a discount for buying in 10kg lots, or when they offer a special – stock up and ask them to put in 500g or 1kg lots for you. If you’d like to know more about how I manage bulk cooking and meal planning, have a look at my blog here.

I make this easy beef stew on the stove top in a big saucepan (4L), so there’s enough for two meals (at least!) for our family of six. You can easily halve the ingredients or put in a slow cooker. I’ve included the slow cooker method below too.

I’d love to know if you make this recipe and what your family thought of it. Please let me know in the comments, or send me a message on social media or email.

EASY BEEF STEW

Ingredients

  • Ghee or olive oil
  • 1kg diced beef (blade, gravy or other cheap cut designed for slow/long cooking)
  • 1 leek (white and green part) or 1 onion – wash and sliced into rings
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed (leave on chopping board for 10 minutes after crushing to allow all the active compounds to form and stabilise)
  • 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 large carrots – washed (peeled if not organic) and sliced into rounds or half-rounds
  • 2 large stalks celery (including leaves) – washed and sliced
  • 1 potato per person, washed (not peeled), halved and then quartered (or cut a bit smaller if the potato is big, you want them about 50c piece size)
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach, or half a bunch silverbeet or kale – washed, de-ribbed and sliced
  • Herbs and spices – I like 1/2 bunch parsley, 2 large stalks rosemary, 1 tbs thyme (I grow these which makes it easy), 1 tbs sweet paprika, 1 tbs turmeric salt and pepper to taste
  • 500mL – 1L Chicken broth, or water and stock paste (or something like Meadow and Marrow bone broth paste)
  • To serve: green vegetables of choice – 1 cup/person and cauliflower mash

STOVE-TOP METHOD

  1. Using a large stainless steel or cast iron pot, heat ghee or olive oil and sautee leek/onion until soft.
  2. Add garlic and meat and stir occasionally.
  3. After a few minutes, add vinegar, paprika, thyme, rosemary, turmeric, celery, carrot and potatoes and cover with chicken broth (or water and add stock paste if using). Stir well and cover with lid, to help it come to simmer.
  4. When stew is simmering, turn heat down and crack lid so that the pot doesn’t overflow.
  5. Stir occasionally and cook for 45-60 minutes. After this time, check if meat is tender. If not, cook for another 10-15 minutes and check again. Meat should be soft, juicy and falling apart in your mouth.
  6. While stew is cooking, prepare green vegetables and cauliflower mash for serving with the stew.
  7. When meat is tender, add chopped parsley and baby spinach/silverbeet/kale to pot, stir well and cook for a few minutes until it is wilted.
  8. Serve with cauliflower mash and green vegetables like broccolini, peas, or whatever your kids like to eat!

SLOW-COOKER METHOD

  1. Put meat, vinegar, vegetables and spices in to slow cooker, cover with broth/water and stock paste.
  2. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or high for 4 hours.
  3. About half an hour before serving, add the parsley and spinach/kale/silverbeet, stir and leave to wilt.
  4. Serve with cauliflower mash and green vegetables like broccolini, peas, or whatever your kids like to eat!

NOTES & variations:

You can vary the flavour by using different root vegetables in place of (or in addition to) the carrots and potato. I use a mix of half potato and half sweet potato, or turnip or swede. You could use beetroot, although it will change the colour. Instead of the herbs and spices, you could use 2 tbs of your favourite curry powder or paste. If tomatoes are ok for your family, you could use 1/2 jar of passata in place of some of the broth. (Especially nice with Indian or Moroccan spices.)

I like Moroccan style seasoning, so will add some tomato passata in place of some of the broth, and use 2 tbs sweet paprika, 1 tbs turmeric, 2 tbs cumin, 2 tbs ground coriander, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger (or fresh if you have it). Use chopped coriander in place of the parsley.