Traditional Beef Stew and How To Make It

Waking up to the cold crisp air these days makes me think of one dish – beef stew!  Packed with vegetables, slow braised beef, some red wine and fresh rosemary the flavours quickly filled our house with a beautiful aroma that screamed fall cooking. I followed Michael Smiths recipe for a Traditional Beef Stew and this recipe came together in no time at all.  I ripped apart a yummy, crusty baguette to serve on the side and no surprise; this dish was a hit at the dinner table. Delicious!


  • 2 pounds stewing beef
  • a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly grated pepper
  •  a splash any vegetable oil
  • 3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  •  a 28 ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 bottle hearty red wine
  •  3 or 4 cups homemade or canned beef broth
  • a few bay leaves
  • few sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 jar pickled baby white onions, drained
  • 3 handfuls frozen peas
  • Another sprinkle or two of salt and pepper


Preheat a large thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.

I bought my meat from the butcher who had already cubed the beef. If yours isn’t already, cut and cube the stew beef and season it with the salt and pepper.
Add a splash of oil to the pot—enough to cover the bottom in a thin layer—and toss in enough meat to form a single sizzling layer. Sear the meat on every side until it’s evenly browned.

Be patient when you’re browning the meat; it takes a little time but it’s worth every minute. The caramelized flavours are the secret to a rich hearty stew. As the meat browns, remove it from the pan, adding more oil and meat as needed.
Once the meat is done, discard the remaining oil but keep all the browned bits in the pan; they’ll add lots of flavour to the stew. Add half of the vegetables—reserving the other half—and all the meat back to the pot. Add the tomatoes and enough wine and beef broth to barely cover the works. Add the bay leaves and rosemary and bring the pot to a simmer.
Continue cooking until the meat is almost tender, about 1 hour, then add the remaining vegetables, the baby onions and the frozen peas. Adding the vegetables in 2 batches allows the first batch to dissolve into the stew while the second retains its shape, colour and texture. Continue simmering until the meat and veggies are tender, another 30 minutes or so. When the stew is tender, taste it and season as you like.