How to Cook Beef Stew

Stewing is a moist heat cooking method using a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Less tender cuts of beef are generally the choice cuts for stewing. When cooking stew, the beef as well as any vegetables should be completely covered with liquid [source: Texas Beef]. Since beef stew has meat and vegetables, it's an entire meal cooked in one pot. Here's a basic recipe for old fashioned beef stew.



  • Two pounds (907 grams) beef
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • One clove garlic
  • Two bay leaves
  • One medium onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • Three large carrots
  • Four stalks celery
  • Three potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Here's what to do:

  1. Heat the oil in your pot.
  2. Add the meat to the pot and brown the meat.
  3. Add the water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, pepper and paprika after the meat is brown.
  4. Cover the pot and let your stew cook on a low heat for 1½hours.
  5. Add the carrots, potatoes and celery.
  6. Cook your stew for an additional 40 minutes.
  7. Remove 2 cups of hot liquid from the pot.
  8. Mix ¼ cup water with the cornstarch until smooth, in a separate bowl.
  9. Stir the hot liquid that you took from the pot into the bowl. Add this mixture back into the pot. The cornstarch mixture will thicken the gravy [source: Deen].

One of the great things about beef stew is its versatility. You can make this basic recipe your own by adding mushrooms, leaks, thyme, chives, rosemary, or any of your favorite herbs and vegetables [source: Bittman]. You can even try adding cinnamon stick, prunes and wine for a totally different flavor [source: Bittman].