This amazing French beef stew gets it's incredible flavor from bacon, garlic, and wine, plus a two-step cooking process. Try it and you'll see it really is the best stew ever.
This incredible French Beef Stew is hands-down one of my favorite recipes. Ever. If you've always thought, "What's the big deal about stew?" then this is for you. I serve this for company often in the winter - it's that good - and not only do I get compliments, most of our guests are practically licking the bowls and asking, "What did you do to this stew?"
I learned to make this stew in college when I lived with a family where the wife was a good cook (which is also where I learned to make this "only for me" salad and this healthified French dressing). It has become my family's favorite stew, too, and my daughter asks for it regularly in the winter.
Should I mention how easy this beef stew recipe is? It's one of the reasons it makes such a great entertaining meal, but I think I'm just going to emphasize the bacon, the wine, the long, slow cooking. Because that pretty much explains it.
And I am really not exaggerating. At all.
Make French Beef Stew
One of the secrets to the wonderful flavor starts at the beginning with bacon. It needs to be crisp so you can crumble it on top later, so no limp bacon!
After cooking the bacon, the beef is tossed with seasoned flour and then browned in the bacon fat, adding the first layer of flavor.
You can buy 'beef for stew,' at the store, but I'm not always sure where the meat came from, so I usually buy a chuck roast and then cube it myself. The bonus is that this also saves money.
After browning you transfer the browned beef to a 13x9 glass baking pan or roasting pan. Why a shallow pan? That's how I learned the recipe and I think it makes the stew less runny because the shallow pan allows for more evaporation, which in turn allows all the flavors to concentrate wonderfully. You can also use a large Dutch oven.
No matter what you choose to bake it in, it's the two-step cooking method (well, besides the bacon...) that elevates this beyond a regular stew. Not only does it make the meat super tender, but it also infuses it with the wine, garlic and thyme and keeps the vegetables from getting too mushy.
Oh, and the bacon we cooked until crisp at the beginning? That bit of goodness gets sprinkled on each serving along with some fresh parsley.
Yeah, I have no doubt that if you try this, you will be calling it the best stew ever, too.
You can see in the photos that my favorite was to serve French beef stew is over Sour Cream Garlic Mashed Potatoes. I used to just add cut potatoes in the stew with the other vegetables, but when I discovered serving it with mashed potatoes, I've never looked back. You should definitely try it!
Obviously, I've no idea where the "French" in the title came from - is there a French equivalent of this recipe? Do the French use bacon in their stew? I can believe they use wine and I know they are good cooks - and since this is so incredible, lets just go with it!
French Beef Stew Recipe - The Best Stew Ever!
- 6-8 pieces bacon
- 2-3 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast cubed
- 1/2 c. flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 c. dry red wine
- 1-1/2 c. beef broth
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 6 medium potatoes quartered (optional -omit if serving over Garlic & Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes)
- 1 large onion peeled and cut in half and sliced
- 4-6 large carrots sliced lengthwise (use the larger amount if serving over mashed potatoes)
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- Chopped fresh parsley for serving
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook bacon until crisp; remove to a plate and set aside.
- Mix flour, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders in a shallow bowl. Coat beef cubes in mixture and brown in bacon drippings; remove to a 3-quart casserole dish or 13x9 baking pan.
- Mix wine, broth, garlic, and thyme, and pour over the meat cubes in the pan.
- Cover with lid or foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove pan from oven and increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.
- Stir in onions, carrots, and potatoes (if using); replace cover and bake for 45 minutes.
- Stir in the mushrooms (and add and additional 1/2 c. broth or water if stew seems dry), return to oven and cook another 15 minutes.
- Top each serving with crumbled bacon and chopped parsley.
Other Stews You May Like:
Slow Cooker Pork-Vegetable Stew (also served with the garlic mashed potatoes!)