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Ultimate Beef Stew

This ultimate beef stew made with short ribs, Yukon potatoes, carrots, fennel, and red wine is hearty, flavorful, and perfect for the cold weather.

Ultimate Beef Stew

It’s been super cold and rainy here lately so I decided to make a big pot of beef stew. Instead of my go-to recipe, I decided to finally try Ina Garten’s ultimate beef stew recipe from her Modern Comfort Food cookbook. I adapted the recipe by cooking the stew for longer, using more red wine instead of cognac (because I didn’t have any), and I halved the fennel because it’s what I had on hand. Cooking this stew slowly at a lower temperature in the oven gives the stew its rich, hearty texture and deep flavor. This ultimate beef stew was fantastic and we all enjoyed it for dinner with some hot crusty bread. The meat was tender and the broth was so delicious & flavorful. I will definitely make this one again.

Ultimate Beef Stew

How to Make Ultimate Beef Stew

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes or until caramelized and the fat has rendered down. Remove from the Dutch oven with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain; set aside until needed.

Meanwhile, season the short ribs all over with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.  Add half of the beef to the hot Dutch oven and cook, turning occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until browned on all sides. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining beef to the hot Dutch oven and cook, turning occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until browned on all sides. Transfer to the bowl and set aside until needed.

Add the red wine to the hot Dutch oven and scrape up any browned bits, then simmer for 1 minute. Add the onions and fennel then season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and their juices, beef broth, and the remaining red wine, and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste; bring to a simmer.

Cover with a lid and place into the oven for 1½-2 hours, checking occasionally to be sure the liquid is simmering.  Side Note: If the liquid runs low, add more beef broth. 

Remove from the oven and degrease the stew, if necessary. Stir in the carrots and potatoes, cover, and bake for 1 hour longer, until the vegetables and meat are very tender.

Just before serving, stir in the peas and pancetta. Taste for seasoning and serve with hot crusty bread. Enjoy.

Ultimate Beef Stew

Ultimate Beef Stew

Ultimate Beef Stew

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 - 8
Author: Adapted by Pam - For the Love of Cooking / Original Ina Garten - Modern Comfort Food

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil, to taste
  • 4 oz pancetta, small-diced
  • 3 lbs boneless short ribs, cut into 1½-inch chunks, excess fat removed
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • cup hearty red wine, divided
  • 2 cups yellow onion, chopped (about 2 small)
  • 1 cup fennel, diced
  • 6 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 (15 oz) can of whole tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups beef broth, more if needed
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled & cut into ½-inch thick pieces
  • 1 lb Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed & cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup frozen peas

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes or until caramelized and the fat has rendered down. Remove from the Dutch oven with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain; set aside until needed. 
  • Meanwhile, season the short ribs all over with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.  Add half of the beef to the hot Dutch oven and cook, turning occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until browned on all sides. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • Add the remaining beef to the hot Dutch oven and cook, turning occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until browned on all sides. Transfer to the bowl and set aside until needed. 
  • Add the red wine to the hot Dutch oven and scrape up any browned bits, then simmer for 1 minute.
  • Add the onions and fennel then season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  • Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. 
  • Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomatoes and their juices, beef broth, and the remaining red wine, and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste; bring to a simmer.
  • Cover with a lid and place into the oven for 1½-2 hours, checking occasionally to be sure the liquid is simmering.  Side Note: If the liquid runs low, add more beef broth. 
  • Remove from the oven and degrease the stew, if necessary.
  • Stir in the carrots and potatoes, cover, and bake for 1 hour longer, until the vegetables and meat are very tender.
  • Just before serving, stir in the peas and pancetta. Taste for seasoning and serve with hot crusty bread. Enjoy. 
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3 Comments

  1. It looks delicious and hard to go wrong with Ina. We love beef stew and I can imagine it served with some of Bev’s homemade rolls to clean up all of the gravy from the bowl. I can’t say I’ve ever had fennel on hand 🙂