Pull up for this gluten free beef stew (using organic beef) if you want the kind of flavor that will warm you up through the cool weather months without letting you down. Warning: This beef stew recipe is not for those that favor bland tasting food. It has a little kick too.
When I was thinking about what I should name this stew, island beef stew was a strong contender. You see, in the Caribbean islands we like things a little hot and spicy. There’s typically a myriad of flavors happening all at the same time.
And while most of my recipes tend to lean on more simple flavors, this is definitely not one of those recipes. It’s hearty, filling, flavorful and oh so good.
Of course, it could also be called healthy beef stew or organic beef stew also because it’s chocked to the brim of good-for-you ingredients like carrots, celery, garlic, herbs and delicious spices and that tender organic beef.
Be that as it may, this is a delicious beef stew that also happens to be gluten free. So that’s what I went with.
The star of the show is the organic beef. It’s grass fed and grass finished beef from Panorama Meats distributed by Perdue Farms. Specifically the beef is labeled “beef for stew”, so it’s pre-cut, easy and ready to go. This saves time in the kitchen and makes sure that you’re getting the most tender cuts of beef for your stew.
You’re entitled to your preferences but for me, there’s nothing worse than taking a bite of beef stew and realizing that it tastes like salt, water, tomatoes and beef. There is no depth or complexity of flavors in that.
About Scotch Bonnet Peppers
Secondly, I decided to add some spice to the mix. For the heat, I called on my good friend, the Scotch Bonnet pepper, which is used frequently in African and Caribbean cooking.
Here’s a little tip if you’re cooking with peppers and don’t like your food that spicy: Most of the heat of the peppers is in the seeds. So if you want less heat, stay out of the kitchen.
Just kidding…if you want less heat, remove the seeds from the Scotch Bonnet pepper first. And please don’t touch your eyes, nose, face after working with peppers. Wash your hands right after.
Some people use gloves while cutting them, but I don’t think that’s necessary. If you’re particularly sensitive or want to be extra careful, then gloves are an option.
I did inquire with my sous chef (the 10 year old), to see if I should leave the seeds in or take them out. Believe it or not, she opted for me to leave the seeds in (knowing very well that it was responsible for all the heat) and then proceeded to have two bowls of the tasty beef stew right after.
That child is a trip and a half.
You can buy Scotch Bonnet peppers at any African/Caribbean Market or International store.
Where to Buy Stew Meat for Beef Stew
Here’s the thing, you don’t want to spend all this time in the kitchen prepping and get the wrong type of beef for your stew. As a Perdue Ambassador, I get many of my premium meats from PerdueFarms.com.
They sell organic grassfed beef from Panorama Meats that gets delivered straight to your door. Their beef is also Whole30, Paleo and certified gap step 4 for all you healthy eating buffs.
If you want to see what orders look like when you order meat online from Perdue Farms, check out this unboxing video.
The beef was so tender and moist upon cooking. Not to mention the nutrients that come from consuming grass-fed beef is better for you too.
Grass-fed beef is leaner, loaded with more vitamins, antioxidants and has a lower inflammatory profile which is beneficial for immunity.
How to Make Spicy Beef Stew
So here’s what you’ve been waiting for, how to make spicy beef stew.
Once you have all the stew beef and all your tasty vegetables and herbs rounded up, you’re ready to go!
Start by sauteing the aromatics in a large soup pot on low heat. Some kitchen nerds like myself call this sweating the vegetables. Cook the carrots, peppers, herbs and garlic for 30 minutes in the oil.
Low and slow is the name of the game.
Note: If you use organic vegetables like I do, you can skip and don’t have to peel potatoes and carrots before hand.
The vegetables will get nice and slightly soft. It’s essential that you don’t have the stove too high for this step or else the garlic will burn and lend a bitter taste to the stew.
Season the beef before coating with corn starch. Using corn starch as opposed to flour is how you keep this recipe gluten free. The corn starch also acts a nice thickening agent for the stew.
After removing the vegetables, add a little more oil and then the beef before browning to get the right color. Now this is the part you don’t want to mess up.
Remove the beef from the pot and pour the beef stock right in the pot. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the juicy bits before adding the beef and vegetables back in the pot.
Don’t fret if you don’t have any beef stock on hand though. Chicken broth also works really well. To really amp on the flavor on this recipe, you could also try swapping out the beef stock for slow cooker beef bone broth.
When it comes to what tomatoes you use for this beef stew, use the best that you can get. I highly recommend organic whole peeled tomatoes for this.
But, don’t drain the juice!!!
Since the tomatoes are whole, use your hands to crush them before placing them in the pot. I promise that this is just as therapeutic as it is messy.
For those asking, “Yes”, you can buy the tomatoes already crushed but, you’d be missing out on free therapy and a more rustic stew. It’s really your choice.
After the “therapeutic tomatoes”, add potatoes, mushrooms, cloves, bay leaves, rosemary and fresh cracked pepper. I use small Yukon Gold potatoes but, you can use Russets or any other potatoes you like.
Then cook the stew on the stove for an additional 90-120 minutes. Watch as everyone salivates while dinner is cooking.
The house will smell amazing by the way! Pair this stew with a fresh salad or grain or gluten free bread.
If you’re looking for more delicious ways to warm up, here are a few healthy recipes for you to try: 5 Healthy Soup Recipes
Can I Make this Beef Stew in a Slow Cooker?
I already know what you’re going to ask me. Can I make this beef stew recipe in a slow cooker?
Sure you can. I like a little bite in my vegetables so I tend to prefer this type of recipe on the stovetop.
For the slow cooker version, I would saute the veggies and beef first as before but, then add them into the slow cooker right before adding any liquid.
I imagine that using a slow cooker with Scotch bonnet would turn up the heat on this stew a lot. I haven’t tried it yet but, if you’re a brave soul give it a try and let me know how it turns out.
When cooking slow cooker recipes, some people like to cook the stew for a few hours first before adding the potatoes in to avoid them getting mushy Test it out and see what works.
Cook the stew in the slow cooker for 6 hours for maximum flavor.
A Few Substitutions for this Organic Beef Stew
This stew is amazing (if I must say so myself). I’d hate for you to miss out because of dietary things. So here are a few substitutions that you can make.
Don’t like spicy food: Just leave the out the Scotch Bonnet pepper.
I looked really hard and can’t find Scotch Bonnet Pepper: Try substituting Serrano Chiles or Habanero instead.
I like to switch things and go meatless on Mondays. What can I substitute? You can use any dried beans you like. Pinto, garbanzos or red beans could work well. Just take note of cooking times.
What can I substitute for cornstarch? You can just omit the cornstarch. Additionally, cut some Russet or Irish potatoes in small pieces at the beginning of cooking. They will cook down and act like a nice thickener. Add some larger pieces of potatoes that will around for the hearty nature of the stew.
- 2 lbs stew meat
- 4 large carrots (sliced, peeling not needed if using organic)
- 5 stalks celery (chopped)
- 2 cups potatoes (cut in quarters)
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 2 cups mushrooms (sliced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 (28 oz) peeled canned tomatoes
- 1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper (minced-skins may be removed)
- 1 quart organic beef broth
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano (chopped)
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 tbsp dry parlsey
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-3 cloves
Condiments and Seasonings
- 1 tsp all-purpose seasoning
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
- 1 tbsp pure cornstarch
- 2 tbsp oilve oil or other oil of choice (divided)
- Place 1 tbsp of oil in large pot on low to medium-low heat.
- Add onions, carrots, garlic, celery, Scotch bonnet, thyme, oregano and cook slowly for 30 minutes, turning consistently and being careful not to burn.
- While the vegetables are cooking rinse meat and pat dry.
- Season with salt and all-purpose seasoning of choice.
- Coat beef with cornstarch.
- Once vegetables have slow cooked for 30 minutes, remove from pot and set aside.
- Return the pot to range and add the other tablespoon of oil.
- On medium heat brown meat for just a few minutes or until brown on all sides.
- Remove from pot.
- Add stock and scrape up any juicy bits.
- Return veggies and beef to pot.
- Add stock, mushrooms, potatoes, cloves, bay leaves, rosemary and fresh cracked pepper.
- Simmer for 1.5 hour on low heat being careful to not boil
- Add parsley during last few minutes of cooking.