Easy Winter Stews to Make
Few foods are more heart — and stomach — warming than a bowl of stew. Winter stews make for hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meals that combine ingredients with warm sauce. Some thick stews can be served over a bed of rice, polenta, noodles, or mashed potatoes. If you’re looking for a few easy winter stews to simmer this winter, try these three favorites. Each recipe has only a few main ingredients, costs less than $10 to make, and comes together in just a few steps.
Stews are very forgiving. You can experiment by swapping out and adding ingredients. You can also use leftovers for unique combinations.
Classic Stovetop Beef Stew
- 1 pound boneless beef chuck or beef round roast, diced into 1-inch cubes
- 1 large potato, unpeeled and cut into chunks
- Vegetables of your choice, cut or chopped into small pieces, including onion, carrots, bell peppers, and celery (frozen vegetables also work well)
- Seasonings like salt, ground black pepper, and dried bay leaf (optional)
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Brown the meat in oil over medium heat until it's seared on all sides.
- Add in 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to low heat, cover, and simmer up to 2 1/2 hours until beef is just about tender.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaf.
- In a separate sealed jar, combine water and flour and shake vigorously. Stir this mixture into the stew. Heat to boiling for a few minutes until the liquid is thickened and the flour taste is cooked out.
- Season and serve.
Italian Ribollita Tuscan Vegetable Stew
- 1/4 pound rustic, crusty bread diced into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups cooked beans (like cannellini or navy), plus the liquid from the canned beans
- 3 medium garlic cloves, sliced thinly
- Vegetables of your choice, including any combination of the following, diced: onion, leek, carrots, butternut squash, turnip, celery, kale
- Seasonings like salt and ground black pepper, plus dried herbs like parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf (optional)
- Sauté the garlic in olive oil over medium heat until the garlic is lightly golden.
- Add vegetables and cook until they're slightly softened but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add water to cover the vegetables. Simmer over low heat until the vegetables are very soft, about 25 minutes.
- Add beans and their liquid along with the bread. Stir and simmer until the bread is soft and breaking down, about 15 minutes.
- Add additional water slowly, about a half-cup at a time, to keep the stew from becoming too thick.
- Season and serve.
Slow Cooker Meatball Stew
- 1 package frozen meatballs, thawed
- 2 cans tomato sauce
- 1 can beef broth
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced
- 5 potatoes, peeled and diced into large cubes
- 3/4 cup red wine (optional)
- Place the potatoes, onion, and meatballs into a slow cooker.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the sauce, broth, 3/4 cup water and seasonings like garlic powder, salt, and ground black pepper. Add red wine if you're using it.
- Pour the mixture over the meatballs and ingredients in your slow cooker.
- Cover, cook on high for 4 to 5 hours, and then serve.
- Optional: An hour before it’s done, thicken stew with 2 tablespoons flour mixed with 1/2 cup cold water.