Comfort Food at Its Best: Barbara’s Beef Stew Recipe

Welcome to my kitchen, where I’ll be sharing with you my Aunt Barbara’s legendary beef stew recipe. This stew has been a family favorite for generations, and I’m excited to share it with you today.

As a chef, I’ve always been drawn to recipes that have stood the test of time. And let me tell you, this beef stew recipe is one of them. It’s hearty, comforting, and perfect for those chilly days when you need a warm bowl of soup to lift your spirits.

But what makes Aunt Barbara’s beef stew so special? Well, it’s all in the ingredients and the way they come together. From the tender beef to the flavorful vegetables, each component of this stew is carefully selected to create a dish that’s both satisfying and delicious.

So join me as we dive into the world of Aunt Barbara’s beef stew. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, this recipe is sure to become a staple in your household. So grab your apron and let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Barbara's Beef Stew
Barbara’s Beef Stew

Are you ready to indulge in a comforting and hearty meal that will warm you up from the inside out? Look no further than Barbara’s Beef Stew Recipe. This recipe is a classic that has been passed down from generation to generation in my family. I am proud to share it with you today.

What makes this beef stew recipe so special? First, the tender beef is cooked low and slow, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth texture that is hard to resist. Second, the combination of potatoes, frozen corn, and green beans creates a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that will satisfy any palate. Third, the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes add depth and richness to the broth. Finally, the thyme and garlic cloves bring a burst of herbaceousness to the dish.

This recipe is perfect for those who are looking for a comforting and filling meal that is easy to make. With just a few simple steps, you can create a delicious and nutritious meal that will keep you satisfied for hours. Plus, it’s a great way to use up any leftover veggies you have in your fridge.

Whether you’re cooking for a cozy night in or hosting a dinner party, this beef stew recipe is sure to impress. So why not join the ranks of my family and make Barbara’s Beef Stew Recipe a staple in your home?

Ingredient List

 A warm bowl of Barbara's beef stew is the ultimate comfort food.
A warm bowl of Barbara’s beef stew is the ultimate comfort food.

Before we start cooking, let’s gather all the necessary ingredients. Here’s what you will need:

Meat and Vegetables

  • 3 lbs stewing beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cups green beans, trimmed

Canned Goods

  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 4 cups beef broth

Herbs and Spices

  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups water

You can easily find these ingredients at any grocery store. Make sure to select fresh and good quality vegetables and meat for best results.

The Recipe How-To

 This hearty stew is perfect for a cozy night in.
This hearty stew is perfect for a cozy night in.

Now, let’s get to the good stuff: making the Barbara’s Beef Stew Recipe. This recipe takes some prep work but it’s worth it in the end. Follow these steps to make sure that your stew turns out perfect every time.

Step 1: Prep the Ingredients

First, you’ll need to prep all of your ingredients. Chop up your 3 lbs. of stewing beef into bite-size pieces. Dice your sweet onion and mince your garlic cloves. Peel and chop your potatoes into small pieces. Rinse and drain your frozen corn and green beans.

Step 2: Brown the Beef

Heat up 1/2 cup of olive oil in a large stew crock or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the stewing beef and cook until browned on all sides, stirring occasionally. This should take about 10 minutes.

Step 3: Add in the Vegetables

Next, add in your diced onion and minced garlic. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Then, add in your chopped potatoes, frozen corn, and green beans.

Step 4: Add in the Liquid

Pour in 1 can of tomato sauce, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 4 cups of beef broth, and 2 cups of water. Stir everything together until well combined.

Step 5: Flavorings

Add in 2 teaspoons of thyme and 2 bay leaves. Season with 1 teaspoon of black pepper.

Step 6: Let it Cook

Bring the stew to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for about 2 hours, or until the beef is tender. Stir occasionally.

Step 7: Remove the Bay Leaves

Before serving, remove the bay leaves from the stew.

Step 8: Enjoy!

Serve hot with some crusty bread or over a bed of rice. This stew is perfect for a cozy night in or for sharing with friends and family. Enjoy!

Substitutions and Variations

 The tender beef and veggies in this stew make for a delicious and satisfying meal.
The tender beef and veggies in this stew make for a delicious and satisfying meal.

One of the best things about Barbara’s Beef Stew Recipe is that it’s versatile and open to substitutions and variations. Here are some ideas to personalize the recipe to your taste:

– Vegetarian: If you want to make a vegetarian version of this stew, simply swap the beef broth and stewing beef for vegetable broth and cubed tofu or mushrooms.

– Different Vegetables: You can customize the vegetables in this stew to your liking. Instead of frozen corn and green beans, you can use peas, carrots, butternut squash, or any other vegetable that you have on hand.

– Tomato Variations: For a richer flavor, you can use crushed or pureed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce. Alternatively, you can use diced tomatoes with green chilies for a bit of heat.

– Red Wine Sauce: If you want to add depth to the stew, try adding a few tablespoons of red wine to the sauce. The alcohol will cook off, leaving behind a savory flavor.

– Slow Cooker: This recipe can easily be adapted for a slow cooker. Just brown the beef and saute the onions and garlic in a pan before transferring everything to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

– Pressure Cooker: For a quick version of this recipe, you can use a pressure cooker. Brown the beef and saute the onions and garlic in the pressure cooker before adding the rest of the ingredients. Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes, then do a quick release.

– Dutch Oven: If you don’t have a slow cooker or pressure cooker, you can use a Dutch oven instead. Brown the beef and saute the onions and garlic in the Dutch oven before adding the rest of the ingredients. Cover and cook in the oven at 325°F for 2-3 hours.

– Beef Casserole: To turn this stew into a beef casserole, add some cubed potatoes to the stew and top with a layer of biscuit dough. Bake in the oven at 375°F for 25-30 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown.

– Bay Leaves: For an extra pop of flavor, add a couple of bay leaves to the stew while it’s cooking. Be sure to remove them before serving.

Remember, these are just suggestions – feel free to get creative and make this recipe your own!

Serving and Pairing

 There's nothing like a steaming bowl of beef stew on a chilly day.
There’s nothing like a steaming bowl of beef stew on a chilly day.

One of the things I love about beef stew is that it’s a complete meal in one pot. You’ve got your protein from the beef, your vegetables from the potatoes, green beans, and corn, and your carbs from the potatoes. It’s hearty, filling, and perfect for a chilly evening.

When it comes to serving, I like to ladle the stew into bowls and garnish with some chopped fresh thyme. It adds a pop of color and a subtle, earthy flavor. Serve with some crusty bread or biscuits to soak up all the delicious gravy.

As for pairing, a bold red wine is always a good choice. I recommend a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel. The tannins in the wine help cut through the richness of the stew and complement the beefy flavor. If wine isn’t your thing, a crisp, cold beer also works well. A brown ale or a stout would be perfect.

If you’re feeling fancy, you could even make a side salad to go with the stew. A simple green salad with a vinaigrette dressing would be a nice contrast to the rich, meaty stew.

Overall, this beef stew is a crowd-pleaser and perfect for a cozy night in with friends or family.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 This dish is a crowd-pleaser and perfect for feeding a group.
This dish is a crowd-pleaser and perfect for feeding a group.

Barbara’s Beef Stew is a perfect make-ahead meal for busy weeknights. You can prepare the stew in advance and store it in the fridge or freezer for later use. To store the stew in the fridge, allow it to cool down completely, then transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. If you plan to store the stew in the freezer, let it cool down first, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze it for up to 3 months.

When reheating the stew, there are a few things to keep in mind. If you stored the stew in the fridge, you can reheat it on the stove or in the microwave. To reheat on the stove, transfer the stew to a pot and heat it over medium-low heat until it’s heated through, stirring occasionally. If you prefer to reheat in the microwave, transfer the stew to a microwave-safe dish and heat it in 1-minute intervals, stirring occasionally, until it’s heated through.

If you stored the stew in the freezer, you’ll need to thaw it first before reheating. The best way to thaw the stew is to transfer it from the freezer to the fridge and let it thaw overnight. Once it’s thawed, you can reheat it following the same instructions as above.

One tip to keep in mind when reheating the stew is to add a little bit of extra liquid, such as beef broth or water, to prevent it from drying out. You can also add some fresh herbs or spices to give it a little bit of extra flavor.

Overall, Barbara’s Beef Stew is a great make-ahead meal that’s perfect for busy weeknights. With a little bit of planning, you can have a delicious and hearty meal on the table in no time!

Tips for Perfect Results

 The flavors in this stew only get better with time, so it's great for leftovers.
The flavors in this stew only get better with time, so it’s great for leftovers.

If you want to make the best beef stew, then follow these tips to achieve perfect results.

Firstly, use a slow cooker or Dutch oven to cook the stew. These cooking vessels allow the ingredients to cook slowly and evenly, resulting in tender and flavorful beef. If you don’t have a slow cooker, use a heavy-bottomed pot or casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid.

Secondly, choose the right cut of beef. Stewing beef or round roast is perfect for beef stew as it is tough and requires a long cooking time to break down the fibers and become tender. Avoid using lean cuts of beef as they can become dry and tough during cooking.

Thirdly, brown the beef before adding it to the pot. This step adds depth of flavor to the stew and creates a delicious crust on the beef. Heat some olive oil in a skillet and brown the beef in batches until it is browned on all sides.

Fourthly, don’t rush the cooking process. Low heat is key to tender beef and a rich broth. Let the stew simmer for at least 2-3 hours to allow the flavors to meld together.

Fifthly, season the stew well with salt, black pepper, and dried thyme. These spices add warmth and depth of flavor to the stew.

Sixthly, add the vegetables towards the end of the cooking process. This ensures that the vegetables retain their texture and don’t become mushy. Potatoes, carrots, green beans, and frozen corn are great options for beef stew.

Seventhly, remove any excess fat from the stew. Beef stew can be quite fatty, so use a spoon to skim any excess fat off the top of the stew before serving.

Lastly, let the stew rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to settle and ensures that the beef is tender and juicy.

By following these tips, you will be able to make a delicious and hearty beef stew that will keep you warm and satisfied on chilly days.


Now, let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about Barbara’s Beef Stew Recipe. These are common concerns that home cooks might have when making this dish, and I’m here to provide some helpful answers and tips to ensure your stew turns out perfectly every time. So, let’s get started!

What is the secret to tender beef stew?

For achieving tender stew meat, the crucial factor is to cook it for an extended period. To obtain exceptionally tender beef, it is essential to simmer it slowly on a low heat either in a Dutch oven on the stove or in a slow cooker for several hours.

What gives beef stew a rich flavor?

As a chef, I always like to incorporate different flavors into my dishes. To add some extra savory or umami flavor to your recipe, consider using soy sauce or Worcestershire. For a touch of sweetness, you can try adding honey or brown sugar. To bring some brightness to the dish, consider using lemon zest or vinegar. And if you want to add some spice and depth, chili powder or smoked paprika could do the trick. These simple additions can elevate your dish to the next level and make it truly unforgettable.

What is the secret to good stew?

When it comes to making a delicious stew, patience is key. It’s important to resist the urge to speed up the cooking process and instead, allow the low heat to work its magic. The beef needs ample time to become tender and the flavors need time to blend together. To achieve this, let the stew simmer on the stove for around 3 hours or slow cook it for at least 4 hours. Trust me, the end result will be worth the wait.

Why is my beef stew meat so tough?

When it comes to making a delicious stew, the type of meat you use is crucial. It’s important to choose cuts of meat that have enough fat and connective tissue to ensure the meat becomes tender and flavorful. Opting for leaner cuts like eye round, sirloin, or London broil might seem like a healthier option, but unfortunately, these cuts don’t have enough collagen to result in a tender stew meat.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Barbara’s Beef Stew Recipe is a delicious and hearty dish that is perfect for any occasion. With its tender beef, flavorful vegetables, and rich tomato sauce, this stew is sure to please everyone at the table. Plus, with its various cooking methods and adaptable ingredients, this recipe can easily be customized to fit your personal preferences and cooking style. So, whether you prefer to cook it in a slow cooker or a dutch oven, or you like to add in some extra veggies or spices, this recipe is flexible and forgiving. So, join Barbara in making this delicious dish and impress your friends and family with your culinary skills. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Barbara’s Beef Stew Recipe

This is a very easy stew with a rich tomato base — our newest favorite.

  • 1 1/2 lbs stewing beef
  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 (10 1/2 ounce) cans beef broth
  • 2 (15 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup green beans
  • 3/4 cup baby carrots
  • 2/3 cup frozen corn
  • 2 cups potatoes, diced
  1. Quickly sear stewing beef in a soup pot with a small amount of oil, the onions, and the garlic.
  2. Add the water, thyme, beef broth, diced tomatoes, and the tomato sauce.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for an hour and a half or more.
  4. Note: The broth will reduce nicely if not covered, but care needs to be taken to not let it reduce too much and endanger going dry.
  5. About an hour before serving, add vegetables.
  6. Increase heat to bring the stew back to a boil; then reduce and let simmer until vegetables are tender crisp.
  7. Biscuits go nicely with this for a complete meal.
Main Course
< 4 Hours, Beginner Cook, Easy, Healthy, Low Cholesterol, Meat, One-Dish Meal, Stew, Vegetable

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