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Rich and delicious French beef stew with red wine and vegetables. You’ll love the intense flavor and it’s so easy to make in a Dutch oven, low and slow! Serve this stew with wide egg noodles or simply with crusty bread and a salad.
This is my version of a Provencal-inspired French beef stew, chock-full of classic beef stew ingredients. Think fork-tender braised beef, beef broth, chunky vegetables, hearty red wine and aromatic fresh rosemary and other herbs.
Traditionally made on the stovetop in a very large earthenware dish called a daubiere, it’s slow-cooking at its best – rich with tender beef, herbs and red wine.
This beef stew recipe is based on a French-style beef daube, which is just a fancy name for you guessed it! Beef stew.
Slow-cooking beef stew
Make this stew when life gives you a tiny bit more time.
The prep work is mostly (all) up front, so it’s perfect to make on relaxed day or on the weekend. Put on something comfy to wear and turn on the oven!
Because the flavors meld for days, you’ll be rewarded with very tasty leftovers during the week.
Sliding a Dutch oven full of meat, vegetables and wine-rich broth into the oven for a few hours not only fills the house with amazing smells, but leaves you hands-free to do other things for a couple hours.
While dinner is bubbling away in the oven, all you’ll need to do later is slice some crusty French bread and toss mixed greens for a salad. Win!
A Dutch oven is the best slow-cooker!
I know some of you are thinking – hasn’t this girl ever heard of a Crock-Pot?! I l-o-v-e my pressure cooker and slow cookers, and I have so many great recipes for them.
It just that there’s something special about a an old-fashioned braised beef stew that cooks for hours in the oven.
- A good enameled cast iron pot is an investment, but it’s beautiful and will last a long, long time.
- It’s heavy-duty and reliably retains even heat distribution over long, slow cooking times.
- For slow-cooker recipes, a Dutch oven is a true one-pot vessel — sear meats and sauté vegetables on top of the stove, and place in the oven to slow-cook.
- You can cook dinner in the oven while doing other things. Nothing is cozier than a warm kitchen in the cooler months.
The best beef cuts for cooking beef stew:
When you shop for meat for beef stew, I recommend avoiding the shrink-wrapped packages of meat labeled “stew meat”.
The meat in those is often a mixture of trimmings from a variety of beef cuts, which means they vary widely in fat content and tenderness.
- Beef chuck: Boneless chuck is my top choice for beef stew. The chuck comes from the shoulder portion of the cow between the ribs and the brisket.
This heavily exercised muscle contains a lot of connective tissue and fat marbling, which makes for a tastier piece of meat.
Look for chuck roasts labeled blade roast, chuck shoulder, top chuck or shoulder clod roast. If you don’t want to bother cutting up the meat yourself, ask the staff behind the meat department to do it for you.
How to get started:
Vegetables in stew
It’s not traditional, but I prefer to cook the vegetables separately from the stew. It’s a tip I learned when I worked in restaurants. The method is a great way to keep the vibrant color, texture and flavor intact.
I like to use a fresh fennel bulb in place of celery for a little Provencal twist, along with the traditional celery. You can use more celery instead of the fennel (3-4 stalks total).
It’s probably not the way your mom or grandmother made stew, but I think it’s an improvement. The veggies in my mom’s stew were boiled to a gray mush — not very appetizing to a kid like me!
Red wine in French beef stew:
Why add red wine to beef stew?
When you slow-cook tough cuts of meat like beef chuck, the acid present in the wine eventually helps to break the meat down, making it more tender.
Red wine in beef stew also adds depth of flavor — some of the liquid evaporates in the oven, which concentrates the flavors going on in the pot.
So, which red wine should you use? If you’re a regular red wine drinker, a good rule of thumb is to cook with wine that you already love to drink.
You don’t need to spend big bucks on a bottle of wine for beef stew. There are lots of affordable, tasty dry red wines that are both delicious to drink and cook with.
good value (under $15) red Wines for COQ AU VIN
- Bordeaux-style Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blends
- California Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel
- French Cotes du Rhone, Bourgogne (pinot noir), Syrah
- Italian Chianti, Barbera D’Asti, Montepulciano
- South American/Australian Malbec, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon
What to serve with it:
This stew is delicious as is, but we also love it served over wide pasta noodles like pappardelle or cheesy polenta.
The stew will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. When reheating, add a bit more stock or water to the stew as the sauce will thicken as it cools.
Slow-Cooked Red Wine Beef Stew
- 3 pounds (1350 g) beef chuck roast
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or 1 ½ teaspoons table salt
- 3 tablespoons (45 g) olive oil
- 2-3 shallots, finely chopped (1 cup)
- 3 tablespoons (45 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) tomato paste
- 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cups (375 ml) hearty dry red wine, such as syrah, merlot or Cotes-du-Rhone
- 1-2 cups (250-500 ml) beef or chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves and 4 sprigs each thyme and rosemary, tied into a bundle with string
- 1 pound (459 g) carrots , peeled and sliced into 2-inch chunks
- 2 leeks, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, stems and tough outer layers trimmed, sliced into ½-inch wedges
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Heat oven to 350 (175C) degrees with the rack in the center.
- Prep the beef: Trim the meat of excess fat and slice into 3-inch chunks. Season evenly on all sides with 2 teaspoons salt.
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy casserole over medium-high heat. Sear the beef in batches until browned. Remove to a platter.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the shallot to the pot. Cook 5 minutes, stirring every now and then, until softened. Return the beef to the pot and sprinkle with flour. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, wine, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper.
- Bring to a simmer, then add enough broth to just cover the beef. Toss in the herb bundle. Cover the pot with a sheet of parchment or foil, then top with the pot lid.
- Place in the oven to braise for 2 ½-3 hours. The cooking liquid will be slightly reduced and the meat should fall apart when prodded with a fork.
Cook the vegetables
- Put the carrots, leeks, fennel and celery in a large skillet with ¼ cup water, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place over high heat until the water boils. Lower heat to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook until the vegetables are tender but still colorful, about 10-12 minutes.
- To serve, stir the vegetables into the stew. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as desired. Sprinkle with the parsley.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Use a 5-6 quart capacity pot.
- The stew will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. When reheating, add a bit more stock or water to the stew as the sauce will thicken as it cools.
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Hey, I’m Karen
Creator of Familystyle Food
I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.