Classic French-style beef stew

Comfort food at its finest!

There’s something so comforting about a delicious bowl of hearty stew. It smells fantastic while it’s cooking and makes for such a nourishing and satisfying meal. Best of all, if you keep an eye on the meat counter at your grocery store, you can often find nicely-marbled blade or chuck roasts on sale; I buy a few when I find them and tuck them in the freezer for future stews. You can absolutely add potatoes to this recipe if you like (quartered baby potatoes are nice) though I prefer not to as I often make double batches and find the stew freezes better without them. As an alternative, I just serve the finished stew over cooked pasta, rice or mashed potatoes. If you enjoy this, you might also like my hearty lamb stew or this quick and tasty turkey stew.


  • 3 pounds (1.36 kg) boneless beef chuck roast (also called blade roast)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil
  • 2 large onions, in 3/4 inch (2 cm) pieces
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup (68 g) all-purpose flour (regular or gluten-free)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) red wine
  • 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) beef broth, divided
  • 2 cups (500 mL) water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) cornstarch
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for serving
  • 1/2 fresh lemon, for serving


  • Preheat the oven to 325F; adjust racks as needed to accommodate a large pot with a lid.
  • Cut the beef into 1 inch (2.5 cm) sized pieces and pat dry then season with the salt and pepper.
  • In a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown the meat in 3-4 batches (it won’t sear properly if overcrowded), letting sear well before gently turning with tongs or two forks. It should take about 5-6 minutes to properly brown each batch of meat. Add additional oil (about 1 tablespoon) for each batch. Transfer the meat to a large plate and set aside.
  • To the same skillet, add the onions and garlic, adding a little more oil if the pot is dry. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring gently with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon and scraping up any bits of meat from the bottom. Once onions are softened and translucent, sprinkle with flour and stir gently until the flour has toasted; about 2 minutes.
  • Stirring continuously, slowly add the wine, whisking to incorporate all the flour and break up any lumps. When smooth, stir in 2 cups (500 mL) of the beef broth and the water. Add bay leaf, thyme, sugar, balsamic and tomato paste; stir to blend well then return the beef and any accumulated juices to the pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid, transfer to the preheated oven, and let cook for 2 hours or until meat is tender.
  • Remove the pot from the oven and add the carrots. Cover and place back in oven for about 30 minutes or so, until the carrots are tender and the broth has thickened somewhat. Remove and discard the bay leaf, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  • Whisk cornstarch together with remaining 1/2 cup (125 mL) of beef broth and stir into stew. Cook on stovetop over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until gravy is nicely thickened.
  • At this point you can serve the stew or let it cool, uncovered, for an hour then refrigerate, where it can rest for up to 48 hours (or place in airtight containers and freeze for longer storage).
  • If made in advance, reheat stew over medium heat on the stovetop or in a 350F oven until steaming.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, or hot cooked pasta and garnish with fresh parsley and a generous squeeze of lemon juice.

Serves 6.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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