Best Ever Beef Stew

    4 hours 15 minutes

    I don't have a slow cooker *hint hint* so I make this in the coal range, but the principles are the same for both. This amount should make a very substantial meal for two (we get two meals out of it) or would serve four with some bread and steamed green veggies.


    Southland, New Zealand
    247 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 500g cheap old beef (chuck, blade, venison's also good or even that UFO hanging around in the bottom of the freezer (Unidentified Frozen Object)) cut into bite-sized pieces
    • 1 teaspoon oil (any apart from olive oil)
    • 1 good sized onion chopped fairly roughly
    • 2 carrots chopped into normal carrot sized chunks
    • 2 potatoes chopped into about 2" dice
    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 glass red wine
    • 1 teaspoon beef stock powder (optional)
    • 1 fresh thyme sprig (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
    • 2 bay leaves
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • rainwater (to cover)

    Preparation:15min  ›  Cook:4hours  ›  Ready in:4hours15min 

    1. Get a frying pan good and hot and brown meat well in the oil, do it in batches if necessary to avoid stewing the meat. At this point my casserole dish is also on the heat.
    2. When meat has a good colour, transfer to dish and pour red wine into de-glaze frying pan. Stand back, eyebrows are good. Throw the rest of the ingredients into dish and give a good stir around. Season well, plenty of pepper and salt give it depth now, you can't add it later and get the same effect. Use cracked pepper or freshly ground. (Ready ground pepper is the devil's dust and should not be used.)
    3. Pour red wine in from frying pan making sure you get all the yummy bits stuck to the bottom. Add Stewart Island rainwater to cover veggies and meat, about 1/2 cm above is good. Stick in coal-range/slow cooker and forget about it.
    4. At about half hour before the end of cooking (2-12 hours depending how hungry you are/how many drinks you have had/how long you have toiled at work) let stew bubble without a lid to reduce the sauce, it should have a nice gravy consistency like you'd get from an instant packet gravy.
    5. If this is taking too long and you're hungry, add said instant packet gravy to get immediate thickening. The meat should be melt in the mouth tender and washing up minimum (eat directly out of dish to create even less dishes). Enjoy!

    Stewart Island rainwater

    Should you not be able to easily acquire our beautiful rainwater, tap water can be used.

    Winning recipe!

    This recipe was the winner of our Slow Cooker Recipe Competition in August 2009.

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    Reviews in English (29)


    Altered ingredient amounts. I substituted Stewart Island Rainwater for tap water - not quite as nice but it did the trick !!  -  19 Jul 2009


    Simple, easy and delicious! Thankyou, Madvix - so glad you won the slow cooker! Just remember to reduce the fluid, because very little evaporates from the slow cooker and you can easily end up with a watery sauce. Apart from the wine, I used only half a cup of beef stock, no water. Don't be tempted to add other flavourings, the bay leaves, Worcester Sauce and freshly ground pepper give a beautiful taste. I used beef shin and cooked on LOW for 8 hours. Perfect! (A tin of mixed beans make a very nice addition)  -  30 Jan 2010


    Great recipe with full robust flavor. The added gravy mixture is well worthwhile. Also try adding a desert spoon or so of brown sugar at the end of step 2 to tone down the "bite" from the red wine plus Worcester sauce - smooths out the end result  -  02 Mar 2012