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Overhead photo of a bowl filled with beef stew.

Classic Beef Stew

Arlene Mobley - Flour On My Face
Classic Beef Stew cooked in a Terra Cotta Cazuela casserole dish or Dutch Oven with tender fall apart beef stew meat, potatoes, carrots, garlic and herbs in a rich and savory gravy.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Thickening 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 15 mins
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 543 kcal


  • Terra Cotta Cazuela


  • 3 lbs. beef stew meat browned
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 medium red potatoes peel, rinsed and quartered
  • 5 medium carrots peeled, trimmed and cut into pieces
  • 1 medium onion peeled and cut into wedges
  • 5 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water.
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Brown the stew meat

  • In a single layer, not crowded brown the stew meat on all sides.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Transfer each piece of browned meat to a bowl. Repeat until all of the stew meat is browned.

Make the beef stew

  • In a large 8-quart Dutch oven or 8-quart pottery or clay casserole dish (13 inch round and 4 inch deep) layer the meat, potatoes, carrots, onion, and garlic.
  • Sprinkle the dried thyme, salt, and pepper over the top. Add the bay leaf.
  • Pour the beef broth into the casserole dish over the stew ingredients. The ingredients should be almost covered with the beef broth.
  • Place the lid on the Dutch oven or casserole dish. If you do not have a lid cover the top tightly with aluminum foil crimping it tightly around the edged of the pan.
  • Cook the beef stew in a preheated 350 F. degrees oven for 2 ½ hours. After 2 ½ hours remove the casserole dish from the oven. Remove the lid or aluminum foil.
  • Mix the corn starch with the water until dissolved. Pour the thickener into the stew and mix with a large spoon.
  • Recover the casserole dish and return it to the oven. Cook for another 30 minutes until the gravy has thickened. Once thickened remove the stew from the oven.
  • Serve the stew immediately with rolls or French bread.



  • Browning the beef: Leave plenty of space between each piece of meat as you are browning it. If you pack the meat into the skillet the beef will steam instead of brown.
  • Prevent browning potatoes: To prevent the peeled potatoes from browning while preparing the rest of the ingredients keep them covered in cold water until needed.
  • Slicing carrots: Cut the carrots in large pieces before cooking to prevent them from becoming over cooked and mushy.
  • Peeling fresh garlic: Cutting the root end off of fresh garlic cloves and smashing them with the back of a knife makes the thin garlic peel pull away much easier.
  • Adding beef broth: The beef broth should be almost covering the stew ingredients so the vegetables will cook at the same rate as the meat.
  • Substitute for beef broth: You can use water and a beef bouillon in place of beef broth. Use caution and omit the salt if using a bouillon instead of broth.
  • Making tender stew meat: Cooking beef stew meat in a covered Dutch oven or clay casserole dish will result in the tenderest beef stew meat you have ever tasted. The meat will be so tender you will be able to cut it with a fork.
  • How long to cook beef stew meat? The cooking time for tender beef stew meat will depend on how large the pieces of meat are. Small 1 to 2 inch pieces of beef will cook much quicker than large pieces of beef stew meat. If cooking smaller pieces check the meat at the 2 hour cooking mark. If the meat is not done recover the pan tightly and return to the oven.
  • Thickening the gravy: I use cornstarch and water to thicken all of my gravy and soups. Cornstarch is gluten free, does not cause lumps and does not change the flavor.


Serving: 1Bowl | Calories: 543kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 57g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 141mg | Sodium: 1476mg | Potassium: 1916mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 8512IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 7mg
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