Italian Style Beef Stew

Cooking for a Crowd, Recipes, Weekend Cooking


I’ve been hesitating to post this recipe simply because the picture, oh, the picture does not do this thick, classic beef stew justice.

I took a lot of shots of this dish and either they were out of focus (par, course) or they were in focus but they just looked sloppy because well, let’s be honest, beef stew isn’t one of the prettier meals you can pile onto a plate.

Ever since I moved into my apartment a year ago I’d been dying to light a fire and make a big pot of this on a Sunday afternoon.

Well, instead I made it at 10 PM on a Tuesday night so I could freeze it and bring to my mother’s for dinner over the weekend, but the sentiment was there.

This takes longer than you might want to spend cooking dinner on the average work night but it’s perfect for dividing into several portions and freezing to reheat throughout the week.

Italian Style Beef Stew
Recipe type: Cooking for a Crowd, Weekend Cooking
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (I think canola or any vegetable oil would be fine also)
  • 2-3 large white onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2½ pounds beef chuck (or pre-cubed sirloin available in the butcher section of your grocery)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoons salt
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • Balsamic vinegar (enough for a hearty splash, about ½ cup)
  • Red wine (again, you can eyeball but I used about ½ cup)
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 2 bags of frozen stew vegetables (carrots, potatoes, celery)
  • A big handful of spinach (optional)
  1. Sauté onions in olive oil in a soup pot over a medium-low heat until they are translucent. Add garlic and salt.
  2. In the meantime, cube meat into bite-sized chunks, removing any visible fat. Add meat to onions and sauté on all sides until lightly browned.
  3. Add a generous splash on balsamic, let liquid evaporate. Repeat with wine.
  4. Add tomato sauce, bouillon and enough water to cover the meat. Lower flame and let simmer for a few hours until meat is tender. Add water as needed. Add veggies as desired. Let stew for several hours.


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  • Reply
    December 25, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Is that winter squash in your stew, just doesn’t look like carrots and if so was going to get excited?

    • Reply
      Maris Callahan
      December 28, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      This was an image from my early days of food blogging where I didn’t use my own photography. I should probably reshoot this because now I know better! You could definitely add winter squash along with or instead of the carrots though!

  • Reply
    Peta-Gaye (skinnyfiber)
    July 15, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    I am not sure why you think the pic is not justifying that dish, but wow is all I can say. I am not a fan of beef but I would an exception for that stew. I am so doing this.

  • Reply
    Autumn Chopped Salad for Winter-Like Spring Days
    April 25, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    […] can be unpredictable. Here we are on the brink of May, but the weather has been more conducive to a pot of Italian beef stew than it has to strawberry […]

  • Reply
    lisa (dandysugar)
    January 8, 2009 at 3:00 am

    One pot meals and casseroles are so comforting. This sounds really delicious!

  • Reply
    January 8, 2009 at 3:00 am

    this sounds like something i would gobble up many, many bowls of. it looks so warm and cozy… the perfect sunday dinner. mmmm.

  • Reply
    January 7, 2009 at 3:00 am

    This is a dish I don’t make very often as some love it and some don’t in my family but I did make it last week and it was fantastic. Must try your recipe one day as it sounds great.

  • Reply
    January 7, 2009 at 3:00 am

    A lot of stewed dishes taste delicious, but aren’t much to look at. This sounds really good though!

  • Reply
    Bellini Valli
    January 7, 2009 at 3:00 am

    These one pot dishes are true comfort foods for many reasons. They are quick, can feed a small army in a pinch, freeze well for another day for more comfort and bring back wonderful memories..

  • Reply
    January 7, 2009 at 3:00 am

    I know how hard it is to get across the lusciousness of these one-pot dishes with a simple photo, but I have wanted to make a good beef stew for so long and never came across a recipe that inspired. Love the idea of adding balsamic vinegar and red wine. Sounds both yummy and easy! I’ll try!

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