Growing up and having the weekly occurrence of being told that beef stew was for dinner always resulted in groans and eye rolls. Really? Again?
I actually had this conversation with my mum recently and she said that she was exactly the same growing up. The thing is, we loved beef, potatoes, veg and gravy so what was the issue?*
However, as an adult, I appreciate how easy, cost effective and convenient these one pot dishes are! Especially when working a full time job and looking for something simple and filling to feed the family.
Over the years, I’ve learnt to adapt what is a simple traditional Scottish stew recipe to incorporate a little more of the flavours that I like and yet leaving it quite flexible for the addition of different seasonal vegetables.
And should you have any leftovers, you could always try making another wonderful Scottish main, Stovies!
I like to have mine served with potatoes, usually boiled but you can used mashed if you prefer, and often a crusty piece of bread at the end for any juices that may be left over.
Alternatively, this can be served with crunchy veg or dumplings.
*I feel I should say that I aspire to cook as well as my Grampa, so this is no reflection on the cooking we received! He’s a brilliant cook!
- 1kg Beef (chuck or stewing cuts), cubed
- 250g Carrots, cut into approx 1″ discs
- 2-3 Sticks celery, cut into approx 1″ pieces
- 1 Small turnip, cut into chunks (1/2 turnip if large)
- 1 Large onion, chopped
- 2 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 500ml Beef stock
- 3-4tbsp Flour
- 2-3tbsp Olive oil
- 2tbsp Butter
- 1tbsp Worcester sauce
- 2 Sprigs thyme
- 1 Bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Casserole dish with lid
Alternative – Slow cooker
- Season your cubed beef generously with some salt and pepper before dipping in a shallow bowl of flour.
I recommend using a chuck cut of beef if you can, as this is the best for stewing.
The flour will help thicken your stew but also help protect the meat from the high heat of the pan.
- Add your casserole dish to the hob and set to a medium-high heat and add 1-2tbsp olive oil.
- Once the oil is heated, add half of your cubed and floured beef sections and sear/brown on all sides.
This should take 4-5 minutes in total.
Don’t be tempted to overcrowd the dish with all of the meat as it can stick together and leave the pan a little sludgy with excess flour.
Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and do the same with the other half of your beef.
1-2tbsp olive oil and 4-5 minutes browning before removing with a slotted spoon.
Set your beef aside for now.
- Reduce the heat and melt 2tbsp butter in your casserole dish before adding your chopped onion.
Cook until softened and turning translucent – This can take approx 3-5 minutes.
- Add your 500ml beef stock to the casserole dish along with your cubed beef, garlic, Worcester sauce, thyme and bay leaf.
Reduce the heat to a simmer, place the lid on and allow to cook for approximately 1hour – 1 hour 30 minutes.
Stir occasionally to prevent any sticking to the bottom of the pan.
If you feel that the liquid has reduced too much, add some water, you want it to sit almost level with the contents, not covering.
- Wash, peel and chop all vegetables.
- I like to my veg to have a little bit of bite left in them, so after the initial 1 hour – 1 hour 30 minutes of cooking, add your carrot, turnip and celery to the dish and bring the liquid back to the boil.
Once boil has been reached, reduce the heat to a simmer once again, replacing the lid and allowing to cook for approximately 30-45 minutes.
- Once cooked, remove from the heat and discard of your bay leaf and thyme sprigs and season with any more salt and pepper that you feel is required before serving.
For serving, you may wish to have this with boiled potatoes, hot crusty rolls or maybe even some dumplings.
Keep in an airtight container and eat within 1-2 days for best taste.