- a blog about food and value

Recipe: Mum’s Beef Stew

irish stewWhat with Rercy succumbing to Tesco, both SnackBox and I sucked in by McDonald’s extra value sugar offer, Cat plundering the depths of dessert, and Jean on a steak/pie-only diet, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’ve given up. Yes, we’ve taken to the couch surrounded by empty pizza boxes, and a shallow and judgmental documentary crew from Sky One are due here any moment.

Redemption lies, as always, in my mum’s beef stew. Its beauty lies in its simplicity, and a packet of oxtail soup. I know a lot of superb cooks who spend hours and hours slowly cooking delicious stews or soups, full of care and love, before adding a packet of Knorr soup or a dollop of ketchup or Chef sauce. I once attended a dinner party where the cook was famous for her version of Eden smokies. Everyone raved about them, but only I knew that her secret ingredient was a dollop of ketchup.

Mum’s stew sounds almost too easy to be nice, while some of you may raise an eyebrow at the packet soup. But it’s proven to be hugely resilient and always popular. And it’s perfect for the coming cold weekend. Do you have a nicer beef stew recipe?


  • 2 lbs diced beef
  • 4 carrots, sliced diagonally into large chunks
  • A handful of fresh parsley
  • A handful of fresh thyme
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced into quarters
  • 3/4 packet of oxtail soup


  • Brown the beef chunks in a pot until they are sealed.
  • Add the carrots and herbs and cover with cold water.
  • With the lid on, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for at least two hours on a very low heat. It doesn’t do any harm to cook all day.
  • About half an hour before serving, add the onion to the pot. Also add the oxtail soup: blend the powder to a paste and slowly stir it in.
  • Warm though and serve with potatoes.


  1. Peter! I AM NOT on a steak and pie diet! My posts were about NOT getting pie and NOT cooking steak. 😀

  2. Hey, I’m not judging, sure after the McDonald’s we weren’t full so got a three in one with curry sauce and chicken balls. Oh, how we cried ourselves to sleep that night… 🙂

  3. looks like delicious. I will try this on weekend, and maybe this recipe can be part of my menu for my restaurant. thanks for this.

  4. This is the nicest beef stew I have ever made & it gets lots of compliments:

  5. Quick question guys – how long do you reckon beef stew is good for in the fridge? I cooked a large batch of it on Friday night and put it straight into a large uncovered bowl in the fridge. I was away at a wedding all weekend and was wondering whether it’s good to eat tonight?

  6. I’d eat it, but I won’t be held responsible for your death. I tend to go by smells – does it smell off? Being uncovered is a bit more risky, but I’d chance it anyway.

  7. Yeah go for it Gerry, if it smells OK then it’s probably fine, boil the hell out of it to kill any nasty bugs that might be lurking.
    Slight variation for a French twist – Boeuf aux carrottes…the cinnamon makes such a difference!

    500gms beef pieces
    600gms carrots – thinly sliced in rounds
    2 large onions halved and sliced
    3 cloves garlic
    big handful of fresh parsley finely chopped
    big clump of thyme (leave as is so as you can pick it out after)
    1 beef oxo
    Bay leaf
    100ml red wine
    Dash of worcestershire sauce.
    small teaspoon of cinnamon.

    Fry onions until soft. Add garlic.
    Add beef and cook slightly fry. Add eveything else and add water to barely cover.
    Put on lid of pressure cooker, cook for 20 mins.
    Remove lid and leave to reduce for 10 mins.

  8. Thanks for a recipe even I could do justice to. Normally my cookery attempts do not extend past a toasted sandwich. Excite about finding further recipoes on this site