Many of us grew up eating the same beef stew winter after winter. While these classic recipes will always satisfy our stomachs and bring us back to childhood, opting for some different flavors is an easy way to make the dish a little more interesting. We’re talking ingredients like beer, ancho chiles, and lemongrass. Try these seven recipes for a taste of something different that’s just as delicious.
1. Italian Beef Stew
With red wine, plenty of herbs, mushrooms, and tomatoes, this Italian-inspired dish from Cooking Light makes for a flavor-packed meal. It’s a perfect project for a lazy weekend, and it makes the house smell fantastic. Keep the Mediterranean vibe going by serving this stew with a side of creamy polenta.
- 7 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1½ cups chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped carrot
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into cubes
- ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 3¾ cups chopped, seeded, peeled plum toamatoes
- 1½ cups low-sodium beef broth
- ½ cup water
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 (8-ounce) package cremini mushrooms, quartered
- ¾ cup (¼-inch thick) carrot slices
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Directions: Heat a Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil. Add onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 45 seconds. Remove from pan.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper, then dredge in flour. Add half of beef to pan and cook for 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining beef.
Add wine to pan and bring to a boil, scraping bottom of pan. Cook until reduced to ⅓ cup, about 5 minutes. Return meat and onion mixture to pan. Add tomatoes, broth, water, oregano, thyme, bay leaf, and mushrooms. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and stir in carrot. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, or until meat is very tender, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf, stir in remaining salt, basil, and parsley. Serve.
2. Slow Cooker Korean Beef Stew with Napa Cabbage and Pickles
Korean barbecue involves a delicious marriage of spicy, sweet, sour, and salty flavors, but it can be tricky to pull off at home. Finding the flanken-cut short ribs alone is nearly impossible. Fortunately, Food & Wine figured out how to translate the taste to an easy crockpot stew. Feel free to serve this dish with as many toppings as you’d like. Kimchi, gochujang, toasted sesame seeds, and sliced chiles are great choices.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 pounds trimmed beef chuck, cut into 3-inch pieces
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 quart beef stock or low-sodium broth
- 2 medium red onions, quartered through core
- 6 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 2 large jalapeños, halved, seeded, and sliced into ½-inch-thick slices
- 2 cups mung bean sprouts
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 cups coarsely chopped Napa cabbage
- ½ cup thinly sliced sour pickles
- Steamed short-grain rice
- Toasted sesame oil
- 3 thinly sliced scallions
Directions: In a very large skillet, heat the oil. Season meat with salt and pepper and sear over medium-high heat until browned all over. Transfer to a slow cooker, turn heat to high, and cover.
Wipe skillet clean and return to burner. Add soy sauce, sugar, wine, and stock. Bring to a boil, then pour into slow cooker. Add onions, cover, and cook for 2 hours. Add garlic, and jalapeños, cover, and cook for 1 hour longer, or until meat is very tender.
Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add sprouts and cook for 30 seconds. Drain. Put cornstarch in a bowl and whisk in ½ cup liquid from slow cooker.
With a slotted spoon, remove onions and discard. Transfer meat to a large bowl. Whisk cornstarch mixture, then add to stew and whisk well to combine. Cover and let cook for 2 minutes. Shred meat coarsely using two forks, then return to cooker. Add cabbage and pickles, cover, and cook until cabbage is just wilted, about 5 minutes. Serve stew over rice and top with a drizzle of sesame oil, cooked sprouts, and scallions.
3. 20-Minute Ancho Beef Stew
A rich stew during the week is usually only an option if you did the cooking over the weekend, unless you opt for a different cut of meat. Family Circle uses quick-cooking sirloin in this chile-spiced recipe, so you can sit down to a substantial dish in just 20 minutes. We like to complete the meal with a side of cornbread.
- ¾ pound boneless sirloin steak, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2½ teaspoons ancho chile powder, divided
- ⅝ teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
- 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added stewed tomatoes
- 1 pound peeled baby carrots, halved
- ½ pound small potatoes, halved
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen corn, thawed
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
Directions: Heat a large nonstick pot over medium-high heat. Lightly grease with cooking spray. Season beef with ½ teaspoon chile powder and ⅛ teaspoon salt. Add beef to pot and cook for 2 minutes, turning once. Remove to a plate.
Add onion, green pepper, and garlic to pot. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add oregano, remaining chile powder, and remaining salt. Stir flour into broth until completely dissolved, then add to pot. Add tomatoes, carrots, and potatoes. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
Stir in corn and beef. Cook for 2 minutes, just to heat through. Serve garnished with cilantro.
4. Slow Cooker Caribbean Beef Stew
Complex flavors don’t necessarily mean complex techniques, as long as you use some smart ingredients. Food Network’s fragrant stew proves the point by using coconut milk , curry powder, ginger, and lime juice. If you’re craving more heat, add some minced fresh chile or a generous pinch of cayenne pepper to the pot.
- 1½ pounds cubed beef stew meat
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 (13- to 14-ounce) can coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
- Juice of 1 lime, plus wedges
- 4 scallions, sliced
- 2 cups cooked white rice
Directions: Toss beef with flour, curry powder, allspice, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add sweet potatoes and bell pepper to bowl and toss with any remaining flour mixture. Spread veggies over beef. Whisk coconut milk and ginger in a bowl to combine. Pour into slow cooker.
Cover cooker and cook on low for 7 hours. Uncover, stir well, and let stand for 10 minutes. Skim any fat from the surface. Stir in lime juice and season with salt. Serve with rice, scallions, and lime wedges.
5. Irish Beef and Stout Stew
Many braises call for wine to give the liquid a flavor boost. As much as we love the method, opting for beer is an easy way to take things in a different direction. Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food goes with Irish stout in this hearty beef and potato stew. Because the brew brings so much flavor to the table, you only need a handful of other ingredients to complete the dish.
- 4 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1½-inch cubes
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
- 2½ pounds new potatoes, scrubbed
- 2 medium onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans reduced-sodium beef broth
- 1 (14.9-ounce) can Irish stout beer
- 10 garlic cloves, sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 2 (10-ounce) boxes frozen baby peas, thawed
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or other heavy pot, toss beef with flour. Stir in tomato paste. Add potatoes, onion, broth, beer, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Transfer to oven and cook, covered, until meat is tender, 2½ to 3 hours. Stir in peas and season with salt and pepper. Serve.
6. Thai Beef Stew with Lemongrass and Noodles
Different cuisines don’t have to be traditional to taste fantastic. Need proof? Try Bon Appétit’s ginger- and lemongrass-infused beef stew. The dish is a far cry from typical Thai eats, but you won’t care once you get a taste. Feel free to serve the beef over rice instead of noodles.
- 4 lemongrass stalks, trimmed, tough layers removed, and thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 kaffir lime leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped peeled ginger
- 2 red Thai chiles, sliced
- 3 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 whole star anise pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 4 medium shallots, quartered
- 1 pound carrots, peeled, halved if large, and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces, plus more
- 8 ounces wide rice noodles
- Lime wedges
Directions: Process lemongrass, garlic, kaffir lime, ginger, and 2 chiles in a food processor to form a fine paste. Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook beef, turning occasionally, until browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add lemongrass paste to same pot and cook, stirring often, until lemongrass is beginning to soften, 5 to 8 minutes. Add star anise, cinnamon, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, beef along with accumulated juices, and 10 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, skimming surface occasionally, until beef is very tender and liquid has thickened slightly, 2½ to 3 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Toast coconut flakes on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until golden around edges, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
Add shallots and carrots to stew and cook, partially covered, until vegetables are tender and beef is falling apart, 35 to 45 minutes longer. Stir in scallions until just wilted.
Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions. Divide noodles among bowls and top with stew. Garnish with coconut, scallions, and lime wedges.
7. Braised Beef Stew with Garlic Cream
A great condiment can turn a good meal into something spectacular. This is definitely the case with Saveur’s stew garnished with garlic cream. The luxurious topping is nothing more than cooked garlic, milk, cream, and oil, but it really adds something to the braised meat. You might want to double the recipe because it’s great on everything from sandwiches to steamed vegetables.
- 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1 cup olive oil
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
Directions: In a large bowl, season beef with salt and pepper. Toss with flour to coat. Heat vegetable oil in an 8-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook beef, turning, until browned on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to plate and return pan to medium-high heat.
Add onion and carrot and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in wine and thyme. Cook, stirring, until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Return beef to pan and add 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is very tender and sauce is reduced, about 3 hours.
Meanwhile, combine garlic with 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and return garlic to pan along with olive oil. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Drain garlic, reserving oil. Return garlic to pan with milk and cream. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until reduced and garlic is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
Pour garlic cream into a blender and process until smooth. With machine running, slowly drizzle in reserved garlic oil and blend into a thick sauce. Scrape into a serving bowl and serve with stew.