Recipe Review

Delish’s Best-Ever Beef Stew Is Relatively Quick but Lacks Richness

published Jan 2, 2023
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Delish beef stew recipe in a bowl
Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne; Prop Styling; Anne Eastman

Delish is known and loved for its friendly tone, its no-nonsense style, and its simple and delicious recipes. When I came across their recipe for “Best-Ever Beef Stew,” I was more than intrigued. I mean, with a title like that, wouldn’t your interest be piqued? Plus, the recipe touts that it takes less than two hours from start to finish, a real differentiator from the other recipes included in our beef stew showdown. The speed of this recipe (relative to the others) is due to it cooking entirely on the stovetop, with no time spent in the oven. Could a solely stovetop stew that cooks for far less time deliver tender meat and rich flavor? There was only one way to find out. 

Get the recipe: Delish’s Best-Ever Beef Stew

How to Make Delish’s Best-Ever Beef Stew

You’ll start by browning cubed chuck stew meat (I cubed a chuck roast) in oil in a Dutch oven, then removing the meat from the pot. Then you’ll add chopped onion, sliced carrot, and chopped celery to the pot and cook them until softened. After that, you’ll season with salt and pepper and stir in garlic and tomato paste, which you’ll cook until the paste “toasts.” You’ll then return the meat to the pot and add beef stock, wine, Worcestershire sauce, and herbs. After the liquid comes to a simmer, you’ll season again with salt and pepper, cover the pot, and simmer until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes.

Once the meat is tender, you’ll add halved baby potatoes to the pot, cover, and cook them until tender (this only takes 15 to 20 minutes). The last step is to stir in frozen green peas and season a final time as needed.

Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne; Prop Styling; Anne Eastman

My Honest Review of Delish’s Best-Ever Beef Stew

The beef was wonderfully tender, and the vegetables were well-cooked (not mushy), but I have to agree with some of the reviewers who rated and gave their opinions on the site: This honestly felt more like beef soup than beef stew. You use a lot of liquid for the recipe — 6 cups of beef broth and 1 cup of red wine — and then you cook the stew covered the entire time. Because none of the liquid evaporates, it all feels a little thin. The intro to the recipe states that “[a]s the soup simmers, the potatoes give off plenty of starch,” but I didn’t find that to be the case in the brief 20 or so minutes that the potatoes cook. This recipe simply ends up more brothy than stew-y. 

Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne; Prop Styling; Anne Eastman

If You’re Making Delish’s Best-Ever Beef Stew, a Few Tips

  1. Make sure to cut the beef as the recipe instructs. As noted already, this recipe cooks for a far shorter time than the other stew recipes in this showdown. In order for the beef to get tender in that shorter time, you need to cut it into pieces no larger than 1 inch. Bigger pieces will take longer.
  2. Use less liquid. I don’t necessarily think that a beef stew has to be thickened with flour (although many of them are), but the liquid does need to have some body and richness to feel stew-like. I would decrease the broth to 4 cups and cook the stew partially covered so that the liquid slightly reduces.
  3. Cut potatoes accordingly. The recipe calls for baby potatoes, which you halve and then cook for 15-ish minutes (mine took 20 minutes). If some of your potatoes are more like toddlers or teens than babies — meaning a little larger than your typical baby potato — cut them into quarters.

Overall rating: 7/10