Rich Beef Stew


By Jennifer Bradley Franklin

Some things just say comfort and, after a particularly challenging week, I dusted off an old favorite recipe for beef stew. This one is easy and doesn't require all day in a slow-cooker to make the meat fall-apart tender. Serve over mashed potatoes or rice for a comforting meal. Enjoy! 

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds stew beef
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 red pepper flakes (more if you like a lot of heat)
  • Dash ground allspice or ground cloves
  • 4 large carrots, sliced
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped (chop leafy tops too)
  • 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes (salt-free is best)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
Combine flour, thyme and ground pepper in a bowl. Pat beef dry and toss in flour mixture. Meanwhile, heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot with a lid (Le Creuset works well). Shake flour off of beef and brown in hot oil. 

Add water, wine, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, and allspice. Cover and simmer 45 minutes. Add carrots, celery and diced tomatoes (juice too). Cover and cook an hour and 30 to 40 minutes longer. 

If the broth is not thick enough, remove 2 cups hot liquid. Using a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix with a little hot liquid and return mixture to pot. Stir and cook until bubbly.