Plain Beef Stew

11:27 pm on 6 March 2006


  • 2kg piece of beef shin. (or some other stewing beef) cut into lumps. I’d choose to make them cubes with 3cm sides.
  • Well-seasoned flour.(I seasoned mine with white pepper, salt and paprika)
  • Oil to brown meat.
  • 2 leeks
  • 4 carrots
  • 3 large onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 6 big flat mushrooms.
  • Stalk or two of celery.
  • 2/3 bottle of red wine.
  • A dozen (or there abouts) pickling onions.
  • Herb of your choice (my choice, thyme, bay)


Get a good heavy bottomed frying pan to brown the ingredients that need browning and a good-sized casserole with a tightly fitting lid.

Toss the cut up meat in the seasoned flour. Add, with the oil, to the hot’n’heavy frying pan. Cook in batches. The meat will stew if it is too tightly packed in the pan and we want it to brown at this stage. The stewing comes later. Turn the meat so it is well browned on all sides. As it is done, transfer it to the casserole. Care taken at this stage to brown the meat well makes all the difference at the eating end of the experience.

While the meat browns, chop the big onions, leeks, carrots, celery ,mushrooms and garlic into fine dice. (As fine a dice as your patience, knife skills and personality type allows)

When the meat is all browned, add the vegetables to the pan season lightly and soften. Soften and lightly brown.

Add the vegetables to the meat, add the herbs, tip in the wine, add water (or stock) until almost or barely covered, put on the lid and put into a 180 oven.

Boil the pickling onions for 2 mins, drain and allow to cool. They’ll peel reasonable easily, or at least more easily than raw. Add them to the stew when peels. Cook for 4 hours. Let stand for 30 mins before serving.

I’d serve this with some rice of some type, mashed potatoes seem awfully appealing as the hail hits the roof. Baked potatoes are sounding damn good too.

If you feel the need to be a bit flash, garnish with a sprinkling of parsley, lemon rind and garlic chopped together very finely.

Suggested Wines to Go With Today's Recipe


Stonecroft Young Vine Syrah

Penfolds Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz

Te Mata Bullnose Syrah

Manara Rock Shiraz 2004

Passage Rock Syrah


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