Comforting beef apple stew. Tender beef pieces in a creamy sauce with apples and carrots, everything slow-cooked to perfection, the best goulash or stew I had lately.
Beef Stew with Apples
I cannot even begin to tell you how much we all loved this beef apple stew. It was just perfect: the meat was tender, the sauce was creamy, the apples were tart and almost dissolved into the sauce adding a luscious note to the entire dish. Absolutely loved it.
I chose this recipe as a way to use the millions of apples in my cellar, there are so many of them this year everywhere. The trees are hanging full of apples everywhere you look, the neighbors who have apple trees in their gardens, keep bringing their apples and you can go apple picking just about anywhere.
What do you need?
- Preferably a Dutch oven for slow-cooking the stew. If you don’t have one, make sure to use a thick-bottomed pot with a good lid.
- Beef: good quality beef flank, also known as stewing beef sometimes.
- Apples: 2 medium tart apples.
- Vegetables: onions, garlic, carrots.
- Herbs: thyme and marjoram, fresh or dried.
- Dairy: heavy cream to thicken the sauce and make it particularly creamy and comforting.
Tips for making beef stew
- Dry the meat pieces with kitchen paper.
- Lightly coating them with flour helps to form a nice crust and thickens the sauce as well.
- Sear the meat in batches, don’t overcrowd the pan. If you do that, the meat will release too many juices and will start cooking instead of searing.
- Scrape the bottom of the Dutch oven very well when you add the chopped onions, those slightly burnt bits will add flavor to the stew.
- Use good quality beef stock, preferably homemade. If bought, use a good low-sodium brand. It is better to use something slightly less salted for making the stew and adding more salt at the end of the cooking process, if necessary. The stock will reduce and if it is too salty, the whole dish might be too salty.
- When adjusting the taste of the beef stew with apples, only add a little honey at first. Stir and taste again. The amount you need greatly depends on the tartness of the apples.
How to serve?
- We had the beef apple stew with the traditional German Semmelknödel, the store-bought variety because I didn’t feel like making any myself.
- Spätzle is also a great alternative, otherwise, regular pasta or boiled potatoes will do as well.
- And I feel that stewed German red cabbage is a must!
Can you reheat?
- You can make the beef stew in advance and reheated when needed.
Beef Apple Stew
- 2 lbs beef flank/stewing beef
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 large onions
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups beef stock
- 9 oz carrots 4-5 medium
- 2 sprigs thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
- 2 sprigs marjoram or ½ teaspoon dried
- 2 medium tart apples
- 1-2 teaspoons clear honey to taste
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- fine sea salt and black pepper
- Cut the meat into bite-sized chunks. Dry well with kitchen paper. Place in a bowl, sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour, and mix thoroughly. Remove excess flour by patting the meat pieces with your hands.
- Brown meat: Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a Dutch oven or a thick-bottomed pot with a well-fitting lid. Divide the meat into two or three batches depending on the size of your pan and brown them in the hot oil all over. Add more of the remaining oil before adding a new batch of meat to the pan. Do not overcrowd the pan.
- Onions: In the meantime roughly chop the onions and the garlic cloves. After finishing browning the last batch of meat, add the onions and the garlic. Let them get slightly colored.
- Simmer: Add the rest of the browned meat, the bay leaves, and the beef stock. There should be enough liquid in the pan to cover the meat. Cover the pot, bring to a boil and let simmer for 60 minutes.
- Add carrots: Clean and slice the carrots and add them to the stew. Continue simmering for another 15 minutes.
- Add apples: Chop the peeled apples into small cubes and add them as well. Simmer for another 15 minutes.
- Taste and add 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey, depending on the tartness of the apples.
- Thicken gravy: Whisk the heavy cream and the tablespoon flour. Whisk this mixture into the stew and let cook gently for about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.