Warming Beef Stew

DSC_1122This is a truly wonderful winter warmer to nourish the whole family from the ‘Cooking Them Healthy’ girls. It is packed with seasonal vegetables and provides a hearty nutritious boost, helping to warm us from within as the weather turns colder.

Carrots, sweet potato and parsnips are rich in immune supporting vitamin C and fibre, and the tomatoes provide antioxidants such as lycopene. Garlic provides antibacterial properties and in combination with thyme are both and useful for respiratory health.

If you have a slow cooker this recipe would work brilliantly – start cooking it at the start of the day (perhaps head out to do some Christmas shopping!) and return home to a delicious supper, all ready to eat.

Serves 4-6
750g beef stewing steak cut into bite sized pieces
2 carrots, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 parsnips, choppped into bite sized pieces
1 small sweet potato or 1/2 large, chopped into bite size pieces
1 x small can butter beans (appox 210g)
1 x small can kidney beans (approx 210g)
1 tbsp tomato puree
500ml chicken stock
400ml water
1 x carton/ tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
2 cloves garlic – pasted
A sprig of thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp white spelt flour
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)


Start by browning the meat – this really helps to give the dish its flavour. Once the meat is browned, remove and keep to one side in a bowl. In the same pan, sweat the onions until soft, next add the carrots, sweet potato and parnsips and cook out for a few minutes.

Next add in the garlic and then the tomato puree and flour. Add the chopped tomatoes and water.

Add the thyme and bay leaves and bring all the ingredients to the boil and then reduce the heat down to a simmer, place the lid on and cook for at least an 1.5 hours, up to 2 hours. You can easily do this recipe in the oven – just pre heat the oven to 180 and place your casserole dish inside for 1.5 to 2 hours – or until the meat is nearly tender. Then take it out of the oven and continue with below.

Remove the lid – at this stage the meat will probably still be quite tough and there will be lots of liquid. Add the drained beans/pulses and stir. Allow the stew to simmer away without the lid for another hour – stirring every so often to prevent it sticking at the bottom of the pan. It will thicken considerably and the meat will soften. Test the meat is done by taking a piece out and smushing it with a teaspoon – it should fall apart easily and not be chewy. Never let the meat boil as this will toughen it.

Taste and if desired, add a tbsp of maple syrup to sweeten and counter act against any acidity from the tomatoes.

We find this is delicious served with a baked potato, rice or quinoa. Plus is wonderful to freeze, so you can have it to hand for a rainy day.