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Beef Stew

Stew is brilliant comfort food and extremely welcoming to curl up with after a blustery day outside!

Delicate chunks of fall apart beef, surrounded by a rich gravy and masses of flavourful veg and that makes for some good eating...

Ryan loves a good stew, and me too, especially since there's not many meals that can contain so many vegetables in one serving and making it all in one pot means less washing up to do later – definitely a winner then! 

Another great reason to make a stew is the amazing economy they offer; with the long cooking time of a stew we can use cheaper cuts of meat (often the tougher cuts are more flavourful) and will often feed both myself and Ryan for two days plus still have a portion left for lunch sometime later in the week. If you're making this at home I thoroughly recommend freezing a few portions as a home-made 'ready meal'! With a stew you can also get away with using the 'bendy veg', so dig out the wrinkled carrots and parsnips languishing in the veg drawer and put them to good use!

Many people are a little intimidated by stews as they seem complicated and take such a long time to cook, however once you get the hang of the basic format it's so easy you really don't need a recipe - in fact it's taken me a ridiculously long time to post a stew recipe and that's mainly because each one I make is so very different from the last! The recipe below is therefore what I would consider to be a basic (but still VERY tasty!) recipe that you can easily adapt to your own tastes or seasonal veg availability.

The time factor is arguably the most important See our pressure cooker review for a faster cooking time!See our pressure cooker review for a faster cooking time!ingredient in a good stew since it allows the meat to properly tenderise and the rich flavours to really blend and develop, but that doesn't mean that you're chained to the stove the entire time it cooks - quite the contrary you can throw it together and leave it to simmer whilst you do other things (circumstance and safety allowing of course!). To reduce the cooking time make use of the technology of a pressure cooker>


Camping substitutions – if you don't have fresh veg, use a tin of peas and carrots or a handful of dried vegetables - you could also use tinned potatoes so no peeling needed either!

Variations – add a sprinkling of chilli & other spices to make it a real winter warmer, serve alongside buttery mashed potato instead of stewing the potatoes (means you'll need another pan though) or you could opt for dumplings instead of potato altogether.

Work what you've got! - feel free to switch up some of the ingredients for whatever you happen to have; use parsnips instead of carrots, turnip or squash instead of swede. Throw in whatever else you have languishing in the veg drawer like some chopped cabbage or other greens, cauliflower florets, courgettes, mushrooms or even asparagus stalks...


My Beef Stew Recipe    (Feeds 4-6 hungry people)


approx. 800g of cubed beef/brisket joint

2 beef stock cubes / 1 litre of beef stock

1 large onion

2 cloves garlic

2 large carrots

1/4 of a large swede / a whole small turnip

4 medium potatoes

1/2 cup peas


salt and pepper

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp paprika

2 tbsp. corn flour/arrowroot to thicken

oil for frying


+ optional: handful of pearl barley/red split lentils



1. Heat a splash of oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan and set to a high heat. Add the meat and fry briefly, turning a couple of times to sear brown. Meanwhile finely chop the onion and garlic and roughly chop the root vegetables.

2. Add the chopped veg and garlic to the frying meat and fry for a couple of minutes to soften, stirring regularly.

3. Peel and chop the potatoes into cubes and add to the pan along with the herbs and stock. Season well and top up with water until the ingredients are almost covered. Add the barley or lentils now if using.

4. Reduce the heat, pop a lid on and allow to simmer for several hours, stirring occasionally. Top up with more water if necessary.

5. To thicken the gravy, in a mug mix the corn flour with enough cold water to dissolve it. Remove the stew from the heat and add the corn flour liquid one spoonful at a time, stirring continuously. Add the peas now.

6. Return the stew to a low heat and simmer for approx. 10 minutes, until the gravy colour has lost its cloudiness and become translucent again. Be sure to stir the stew more regularly once the corn flour is added so the veg doesn't stick to the bottom and burn. You may need to add more water or repeat the thickening process depending on how much or how thick you prefer your gravy.

7. Adjust the seasoning to your taste, and serve warm in bowls immediately.


Perfect for Dutch Ovens!Perfect for Dutch Ovens!

This recipe is perfect for cooking in a cast iron pot suspended over the embers of a camp fire, buy a Dutch Oven camp cooking set on Amazon here >


We'd love to hear about any adaptations you've made, let us know what you think in the comments below!


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Sarah is an artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more

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