Beef Stew

This is the most amazing beef stew I’ve ever eaten, and in fact easily ranks in the top 10 things I’ve ever eaten anywhere. It’s well worth taking the time to make and can be served to family or guests with absolutely no question about whether or not they’ll like it.

Don’t Panic! I know this looks like a huge list of ingredients, however you probably have most of them in your kitchen already.

The beefy flavor comes from beef of course, however it receives a tremendous boost in “beefyness” from the glutamates which occur naturally in the tomato paste, salt pork, anchovies and mushrooms. However the anchovies also contain inosinate, which boosts the effect of the glutamates, giving the dish a huge taste and incredible depth. Note that nobody will be able to tell that the dish contains pork or anchovies. They’re there for their flavor boosting effect, not their flavor, which is undetectable. The gelatin is used to slightly thicken the sauce giving it the same texture as the classical french version that take can days to create.

Please leave a note here and let me know how it came out, and if you and your guests liked it.


2 Cloves Garlic
3 Anchovy Filets
1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
4 Lbs Boneless Chuck Eye Roast (ask your butcher)
4 Ounces Salt Pork
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion cut in half pole-to-pole, then sliced into 1/8″ slices.
4 Medium Carrots, peeled, cut into 1″ chunks
¼ Cup All-Purpose Flour
2 Cups Medium body red wine, like Pinot Noir. Should be good enough to drink, but doesn’t need to be expensive.
2 Cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth or Stock
2 Bay Leaves
4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
1 Lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cubed about 1”
1 Lb Baby Portobello Mushrooms (Crimini), washed, any tough stems removed. The stems on the very small mushrooms are tender, while the older, larger mushrooms are tough as shoe-leather.
Cups Frozen Pearl Onions
2 Tsp Unflavored Gelatin (1 packet)
½ Cup Water
1 Cup Frozen Peas
Fresh Ground Pepper


  • Heat oven to 300 degrees F
  • Use a mortar and pestle to liquefy garlic and anchovies, mix with tomato paste and set aside
  • Open chuck roast at seams. Remove all membranes, excess fat gristle and anything that isn’t 100% completely, easily edible beef.  Nobody likes to spit out something inedible during dinner. Cut beef into cubes 1 to 1 1/2″ wide, pat dry with paper towel.
  • Heat about 1 T of vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed oven-proof dutch oven or pot, until shimmering and barely smoking, then add half the meat (don’t crowd the pot). Saute until meat is browned on all sides, then remove, add another 1T of oil and brown the other half of the meat.
  • Return all meat to the pot, add the sliced onion and carrots and cook on medium until onion is soft. Be sure to scrape up any fond from the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the garlic/anchovy/tomato paste and cook and stir, then add the flour and cook/stir until no dry flour is visible.
  • Add wine, deglaze pot and simmer for a few minutes until slightly reduced.
  • Add broth, bay leaves, thyme and salt pork, cover, bring to a simmer, place in oven and cook for about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Place water in a small bowl, add gelatin and allow to dissolve
  • Remove pot from oven, discard bay leaves and salt pork, add potatoes, mushrooms, bring to a simmer on the stove, and return to oven for about 45 minutes until potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork.
  • Remove from oven, add frozen pearl onions and peas, place on stovetop and heat on medium to return to a simmer, and cook about another 15 minutes, or until the pearl onions are cooked
  • Add gelatin water and simmer another 3 minutes.

Serve hot, over egg noodles.

Keeps well in the refrigerator and can be made ahead and reheated the next day.

Serves 6 to 8

Adapted from a recipe by Kenji Lopez-Alt in Cook’s Illustrated.

PS. I know this sounds like a ton of work, but it really isn’t. Just prep all your ingredients, follow the recipe and you will be rewarded with the best Beef Stew you’ve ever eaten.