Beef stew is one of the ultimate comfort foods and cold weather winter dishes, but it comes in more forms than you might think. These 12 beef stew recipes from around the world are all worth adding to your rotation.
I totally understand why everyone lusts after the unadulterated flavor of steaks. But I’ll always be of the opinion that there are much more interesting things you could be doing with your beef, and they all involve giving it a nice, long simmer in something fragrant, spicy, or just plain homey and hearty. I’m talking about a good old-fashioned beef stew.
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Slow-simmered stew is one of a Dutch oven's highest callings.
Sure, stews are nothing fancy, typically best suited for those off cuts of meat that only start to soften up after hours of gentle simmering. But the effects of slow cooking are precisely what make them great—no maneuvering with knives required, just a humble fork to pull apart those willingly tender morsels. In fact, beef might be the ultimate stew meat because it can hold its own against some seriously hardy flavors, going where other meats fear to tread.
For further proof of the universally appealing nature of a good beef stew, here are 12 globe-trotting variations that are guaranteed to bring the warmth on even the chilliest of winter days.
With a mélange of boneless chuck and vegetables in a hearty broth, a traditional beef stew is one of those essential, low-effort dishes that bring out the best of simple ingredients. Our recipe fine-tunes the method, ensuring that the meat is fall-apart tender, while preventing the vegetables from turning to mush. Get our Easy Beef Stew recipe.
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Pre-cut for convenience.
Ever since Julia Child showed America how to make boeuf bourguignon on her television show “The French Chef,” the dish has been synonymous with Gallic rusticity. This rendition dispenses with cooking the mushrooms and onions separately but sacrifices nothing in flavor. Get the Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce recipe.
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Venture north from France into Belgium and you’ll find carbonnade flamande, which swaps out bourguignon’s red wine with a healthy glug of dark beer and a dash of vinegar. This version from “Braise” also includes orange marmalade and gingerbread or crumbled gingersnaps for a secret-ingredient undertone of sweetness and spice. Its deep, malty flavor and tart overtones make for a dish that’s complex and a little bit funky in the very best way. Get Daniel Boulud’s Beef Carbonnade Flamande recipe.
Brisket is probably not the first thing you associate with Chinese food, but this stew is a traditional Cantonese dish that is full of flavor from chu hou paste. It often includes beef tendon too, but our version leaves it out and you can use turnips if you have trouble finding daikon for the dish. Get our Chinese Brisket and Turnip Stew recipe.
Stroganoff may have something of a fusty reputation, but anything that is rich with butter, sour cream, and wine is timeless in my book. Most beef stews rely on long, slow braises, but stroganoff achieves all of the same comforts within a relatively quick cooking time. Get our One-Pot Beef Stroganoff recipe.
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If you’re looking for an alternative to corned beef and cabbage come St. Patrick’s Day—or simply an easy, comforting dish for any cold winter night—this Guinness braised beef is a great option with deep, savory flavor from the slow-cooked beef and stout. Get our Beef Braised in Guinness recipe.
Related Reading: A Nontraditional Irish Stew You’ll Cook All Winter
6. Galbi Jjim
Beef ribs have an ideal ratio of fat to muscle for creating unctuous, tender, and moist stew meat. In this Korean classic, they go for a braise in soy sauce tempered by the vegetal sweetness of Asian pear. Get the Galbi Jjim recipe.
This is a Jewish recipe that is slow-cooked out of necessity. Brought to a boil right before the Sabbath, it is then simmered overnight, eliminating the need to cook on the day of rest. Waking up to its hearty aroma in the morning is also reason enough to break out your Dutch oven and let time work its magic. Get the Cholent recipe.
Peanut butter is good for so much more than sandwiches and sweets—it has a savory side, too. When teamed up with onions and spices, it provides the base for the luxuriantly creamy sauce in African beef and peanut stew. If you prefer, you can grind up fresh peanuts in your food processor instead. Get the West African Beef and Peanut Stew recipe.
Not all stews are dominated by hefty chunks of meat. Japanese nikujaga uses paper-thin slices of sukiyaki-style beef. With a dashi broth accented by sake, mirin, and soy sauce, it has a savory-sweet quality that brings extra flavor and juiciness to each slurp. Get the Nikujaga recipe.
Oxtails are packed with collagen, which creates an extra-velvety texture that melts on the tongue. But as lip-smackingly good as oxtails can be, they also demand robust flavors that can cut through that richness. Allspice, thyme, paprika, and piquant Scotch bonnet peppers do just the trick in this Jamaican-style stew. Get the Jamaican Oxtail Stew recipe.
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The secret to amazingly rich stews and sauces.
A specialty of the Muslim communities in the southern Indian state of Kerala, this curry-like dish features the aromatic flavors associated with the region, such as coconut, turmeric, and cilantro. Get the Kerala-Style Beef Stew recipe.
12. Ropa Vieja
A dish with a name that literally translates to “old clothes” may not sound instantly appetizing. But sometimes the best things in life are a little bit tattered, tried, and true. Get the Ropa Vieja recipe.
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