French Beef Stew with Old-fashioned Vegetables
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: Serves 6
  • For the Marinade:
  • 2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 cups full-bodied red wine (eg, Bordeaux like cabernet sauvignon or merlot)
  • ¾ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • For the Stew:
  • 3 tablespoons oil or lard
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can plain tomato sauce
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 3 turnips, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 medium rutabagas, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 medium parsnips, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Cut up the meat into 1-inch chunks. The meat is going to simmer for two hours, so that will enough to tenderize it anyway, but generally you want to cut it against the grains for optimal tenderness.
  2. Place the beef in the dutch oven with the onions and carrots and and bouquet garni.
  3. For quick and easy tutorial on how to make a bouquet garni, see my post How To Make A Bouquet Garni.
  4. Add the red wine and the red wine vinegar. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.
  5. After it has fully marinated, remove the beef and pat it with paper towels to remove the excess moisture. This will enable it to brown properly and get that brown crust that is essential for the flavor of the stew.
  6. Heat the oil in the dutch oven over medium-high heat once the oil is very hot add the beef, a few pieces at a time. Be sure not to overcrowd the pot otherwise the beef won't brown, it will simply steam. Generously brown the pieces on all sides. Transfer them to a plate and set aside.
  7. The browned crust that develops on the bottom of you pot - keep it! Don't throw it out, that's going to make your stew taste heavenly. Later when you add the liquid your going to do what's known as "deglazing" the pot. That's when you scrape up those luscious browned bits and incorporate them into the stew.
  8. Add the onions and cook until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  9. Strain the contents of the marinade into a sieve over the dutch oven. You want all of the original marinade in the dutch oven. Discard the onions and carrots from the marinade but keep the bouquet garni.
  10. Return the beef to the Dutch oven with the bouquet garni and the whole cloves. (Note: You can choose to wrap the cloves in a bit of cheesecloth or muslin so that you don't have to fish them out later from the serving on your plate.) Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  11. Towards the end of the hour, chop up the vegetables. For contrast and variety, I like to chop each of the vegetables into different shapes and sizes.
  12. Add the vegetables along with the tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Stir a bit to combine.
  13. Return everything to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for another hour or until the vegetables are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. *If you think the beef can handle further cooking without falling apart, go ahead and simmer it for another 30 or more minutes, it will only get better!
  14. Serve with some crusty bread.
  15. This stew is even better the next day after the flavors have had time to meld.
Another vegetable that would commonly be added to this traditional stew in France is salsify, a delicious and versatile Winter root vegetable in the dandelion family. It's very difficult to find here in the U.S. but if you have a local produce shop that carries it, grab some and add it to the stew.
Recipe by The Daring Gourmet at