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Spring Beef Stew 

Here is New England spring is not always filled with blue skies and sunshine!  There are still many opportunities to warm up our bellies on cool, damp and rainy days.  This beef stew incorporates some lighter flavors but is still hearty enough to fill you up and keep you warm.  

Servings: 4-6

1 pound beef stew meat (chuck), 3/4 inch dice

1 tablespoon olive oil 

4 shallots, diced

3 small bulbs fennel, core removed and sliced about 1/2 inch

4 cloves garlic, smashed

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 teaspoons herbs de Provence

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon tomato paste 

1 cup dry white wine

8 cups beef broth 

1 pound Yukon Gold Potatoes, cubed about 1 inch or baby Yukons

4 large carrots, sliced on bias about 1 inch

1 cup frozen peas

fresh chives, chopped

grainy Dijon mustard


In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper. When just smoking hot, add beef and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.  Transfer beef to bowl.  

Reduce heat to medium and add shallots fennel and garlic. Saute about 5-10 minutes to soften. Season to taste with salt and pepper.   Add bay leaf, herbs de Provence, tomato paste, flour and beef.  Stir about one minute.  Increase heat to medium high.  Add white wine, stirring up all the bits from the bottom of pan.  Reduce to about 1/4 cup.  Add beef broth and bring to a simmer.  

Reduce heat to medium/low, cover and stew for about 2 hours or until meat in just tender.  Add potatoes and carrots and finish cooking until vegetables are tender.  (you may need to add more broth depending on how thick/thin you like your stew).  

Just before serving, stir in frozen peas.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  

Ladle into bowls.  Garnish with chopped chives, a dollop of grainy mustard and a small fennel frond. 

* Serve with crusty bread and a green salad 

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