French Beef Stew {aka, The Best Stew Ever}

French Beef Stew - aka The Best Stew Ever - An Oregon Cottage

This incredible French Beef Stew is hands-down one of my favorite recipes. Ever. If you’ve always thought, “What’s the big deal about stew?” then this is for you. I serve this for company often in the winter – it’s that good – and not only do I get compliments, most of our guests are practically licking the bowls and asking, “What did you do to this stew?”

Ha – I’m not gonna mention how easy it is, I’m just going to emphasize the bacon, the wine, the long, slow cooking. And I am really not exaggerating. At all.

stew-cooking bacon

One of the secrets to the wonderful flavor starts at the beginning with, yes, bacon. It needs to be crisp so you can crumble it on top later, so no limp bacon!

beef for stew

After cooking the bacon, the beef is tossed with seasoned flour and then browned in the bacon fat, adding the first layer of flavor. Oh, and I usually buy a chuck roast and then cube it myself to save money.

French Beef Stew-baking beef

I always transfer the browned beef to a 13×9 glass baking pan, though I’m sure a Dutch oven would work just as well. I use a 13×9 pan (which does seem odd for a stew) because the the woman who gave me this more than 20 years ago used one. I’ve always assumed it makes the stew less runny because the shallow pan allows for more evaporation, which in turn allows all the flavors to concentrate wonderfully. I wonder now if it was just because she didn’t have any other pan…

No matter what you choose to bake it in, it’s the two-step cooking method (well, besides the bacon…) that elevates this beyond a regular stew. Not only does it make the meat super tender, but it also infuses it with the wine, garlic and thyme and keeps the vegetables from getting too mushy.

So first cook the beef and liquid, covered, at a lower temperature for an hour. Then turn the oven to a hot 450 degrees, mix in the vegetables you’re using (I used to always add potatoes with the vegetables, but we’ve since discovered we like this better served over mashed potatoes, so I add extra carrots, onions, and mushrooms instead of potatoes now), cover again and cook for another hour.

French Beef Stew-The Best Stew - An Oregon Cottage

Oh, and the bacon we cooked until crisp at the beginning? That bit of goodness gets sprinkled on each serving along with some fresh parsley. Yeah, I have no doubt that if you try this, you will be calling it the best stew ever, too.

The Best French Beef Stew- An Oregon Cottage

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French Beef Stew {The Best Stew Ever}

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 2-3 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, cubed
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 c. dry red wine
  • 1-1/2 c. beef broth
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 medium potatoes, quartered (omit if serving over mashed potatoes – preferably sour-cream & garlic flavored)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut
  • 3-6 large carrots, sliced lengthwise (use larger amount if serving over mashed potatoes)
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • Chopped, fresh parsley for serving
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook bacon until crisp; remove to a plate and set aside.
  2. Mix flour, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders in a shallow bowl. Coat beef cubes in mixture and brown in bacon drippings; remove to a 3-quart casserole dish or 13×9 baking pan.
  3. Mix wine, broth, garlic, and thyme, and pour over  the meat cubes in the pan.
  4. Cover with lid or foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove pan from oven and increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.
  5. Stir in onions, carrots, and potatoes (if using); replace cover and bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Stir in the mushrooms (and add and additional 1/2 c. broth or water if stew seems dry), return to oven and cook another 15 minutes.
  7. Top each serving with crumbled bacon and chopped parsley.

Makes 6-8 servings

 

Comments

  1. That sounds and looks awesome!

  2. Hi Jami,
    Made this last week, we loved it!! So easy and delicious!! Love recipes that look and taste like you spent hours cooking…..yet, I was enjoying reading your blog while the house smelled wonderful.
    Have you considered a cookbook??? : )
    T

  3. I made this for dinner last night and it was delicious! I’m so glad I have a little left over for lunch today!

  4. This looks really good. I would like to try it for a family gathering. Do you think you can cook two pans at same time?

  5. I love the idea of finishing the stew in the oven. Those that I’ve done this way before turn out so yummy and the meat is so tender. I had already planned to try this next week, and yes, the new pictures sure make me want to try it even sooner!

  6. Beniamino Scungio says:

    When my lady and I had our 25th anniversery, she informed me that after 25 years it was my turn to cook. Well, I took it very seriously. I started to cook. We have been married for 61 years come June, and she won/t let me quit. So I keep going. I’ve had a look at your recipe, and instrctioms, and it looks prety good to me; I will be trying it very soon. Am always looking for new ways to please her.. Thank you.
    Ben Scungio, from North Providence, Rhode Island.

    • Wow, Ben, you sound like a treasure! I’m sure if I told Brian that he would give me that “deer in the headlights look” and we’d have pasta every night! You’ve got a lucky wife. :) Hope you enjoy the stew!

  7. Yumm! I know what we’re having for dinner this week. Looks delicious!

  8. This was absolutely wonderful! I will definitely make this again. I added more beef stock,red peppers, celery, mushrooms, and extra garlic.

    • Yeah! I’m on a mission for more people to find out about this recipe – our favorite stew, so I’m glad to count you among the converts. ;)

  9. Heather P says:

    I made this last night, exactly according to your directions, and it was EXCELLENT! Browning the meat in the bacon fat really deepens the flavor. We were supposed to have a dinner guest, but she had to cancel last minute. I must say, although I missed her company, I’m supremely glad that there are enough leftovers to enjoy again tonight! Brilliant recipe!

  10. I made this last night and the flavor is wonderful! Mine became a bit dry…next time I will use a bit more broth and serve over mashed potatoes! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Julie Pullum says:

    Got this in the slow cooker for later today, smells wonderful!

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