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Beef stew is a delicious and hearty stew in a variety of different ways around the world with one of the most common versions being the traditional British beef stew. Truly on a cold day or when under the weather, there are few things that will hit the spot better than a delicious bowl of beef stew. However, when having a beef stew dinner, you may be wondering what to serve with beef stew?
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How To Make Beef Stew?
When cooking beef stew, the simplest and most convenient way of doing so is to use the slow cooker. Doing so often takes longer but with advanced planning, this is an incredibly low maintenance recipe whilst also providing a meal that will be hearty and delicious. In order to slow cook beef stew effectively for eight people, you should follow the steps below:
- First things first you’ll need to gather and prepare your ingredients for the beef stew. The ingredients include:
- Two tablespoons of olive oil
- Two pounds stewing beef cut into 1-inch cubes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- One pound of quartered baby red potatoes
- Four carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- One diced onion
- Three cloves minced garlic
- One teaspoon of smoked paprika
- Two bay leaves
- Fifty-five grams of all-purpose flour
- A couple of tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley leaves
- Seven hundred millilitres of beef broth
- Two tablespoons of tomato paste
- One tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
- One teaspoon of dried thyme
- One teaspoon of dried rosemary
- One teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
- Over a medium heat stovetop, warm your olive oil in a skillet.
- Season your beef to taste with salt and pepper
- Add the seasoned beef to the skillet and cook until browned evenly. This takes about roughly two or three minutes to do.
- In your slow cooker place your beef, carrots, garlic, potatoes and onions.
- Stir in beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire, thyme, rosemary, paprika, caraway seeds and bay leaves to your slow cooker until all ingredients are well combined. Following which season with some extra salt and pepper.
- On low heat, cook the stew mixture for roughly seven and a half hours. For high heat though you should cook for four and a half hours.
- Whisk together, one hundred and twenty millilitres of beef broth with your flour.
- Add the broth/flour mixture into your slow cooker and mix well.
- Cook for an extra half an hour on high heat.
- Once ready, serve, potentially with a garnish of parsley.
What Goes With Beef Stew?
Beef stew is a hearty and heavy dish that is oozing with flavour and textures ranging from rich and tender beef to the thick gravy and soft and slightly crunchy vegetables. As such, with a dish of this nature, it is already very layered and complex.
This means that the side dishes you serve alongside it should be simple and mildly flavoured in order to not overwhelm these flavours. That said though, these sides shouldn’t be intentionally bland but instead have more subtle and light flavours, in a similar vein to those served with beef bourguignon.
What To Serve with Beef Stew?
With that in mind though you may have some issues deciding on some sides for beef stew. Fortunately though like with other hot beef stew dishes like stroganoff there are some very good options. As such, some sides to serve with traditional beef stew include the following options:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Garlic Parmesan Roasted Potatoes
- Baked Potatoes
- Sweet Potatoes
- Grilled Vegetables
- Cheddar Cheese Biscuits
- Dinner Rolls
- Egg Noodles
When wanting to make you stew a particularly hearty and starchy affair then there are no better side options than to serve it alongside some potatoes. In particular, though, mashed potatoes make for an excellent choice as they add some extra creaminess to the meal.
The blending of the gravy from your stew with mashed potatoes makes for an incredibly thick, creamy and flavourful side dish. This is especially true if you make sour cream mashed potatoes with garlic and potentially some cream cheese.
An option to add some extra layers of flavour to your meal though is to make some Irish mashed potatoes or colcannon as this dish is also known. Simply put colcannon is essentially mashed potatoes mixed with scallions and leafy greens such as kale or cabbage. The process of making this is very simple and really adds a lot of flavour to the dish.
Garlic Parmesan Roasted Potatoes
An alternative spud based option though is to instead make roasted potatoes. This pairs wonderfully with your beef stew as not only does it add the crispy nature of the outside of the potatoes but also maintains the soft and fluffy texture on the inside.
When you serve these with beef stew these textures, along with earthy flavours add a wonderful contrast to the texture of the meal whilst also subtly reflecting the flavours of the veg.
To take things a step further though, you should season your roasted potatoes with garlic and parmesan cheese beforehand. Doing so will also add some extra layers of flavour to the affair with the parmesan, in particular, providing some sharpness.
Whilst beef stew is a dish that already contains potatoes, as established above though, a potato-based side can make for a wonderful pairing with beef stew. As such a baked (or jacket) potato can also make for an excellent choice.
When baked the potato will have that wonderful combination of fluffy inside and crispy exterior in a similar way to roasted potatoes. However, here you may want to add an extra layer of filling on top of the potato. This should be kept simple with one option being butter or maybe some extra meat or veg. Alternatively, the stew itself can act as this filling.
Somewhat in the vein of the prior options, a sweet potato-based dish is a wonderful option. Like potatoes, they will add an earthy flavour, however, as the name suggests they also add a distinct sweetness as well. Additionally, whilst regular potatoes tend to be fluffy in the middle when cooked, sweet potatoes are known for having more of a distinctive crunch.
The tastes and textures of sweet potatoes make for an interesting combination with beef stew though. This is because the sweetness makes for a very noticeable contrast with the meaty and earthy flavours of the stew.
Sweet potatoes are also incredibly versatile as well, meaning that they can be made into a variety of different dishes. Some examples of which being sweet potato casserole or sweet potato fries.
A staple side dish for nearly any dish is of course some grilled vegetables. Naturally, these all add a variety of different flavours, along with some smokiness from the grill. However, these will also be quite subtly contrasting tastes. Although, by comparison to the more soft and tender ingredients found in the stew, the grilled veggies will also provide a very distinctive crunch.
This is truly the great thing about grilled veggies though is that you can really make it our own. As such whether you use green or root vegetables or a mix, you will be able to make something good. One example of this though is a combination of cucumber, bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms.
Beef stew is as mentioned above is as hearty and heavy as it is delicious. As such, you may want to balance this out somewhat with a lighter side dish. If so, then a salad of your choice can be an excellent option.
Along with being quite light, salads often add an extra layer of freshness to your meal which perfectly balances out the often rich and heavy aspects of the stew. That said though, you don’t want your choice of side to completely overwhelm your main, as such simple salad options are usually your best choice.
This still leaves a wide variety of choices though with options such as green salad, cucumber salad, shredded brussels sprouts salad and tomato salad. Beef stew pairs wonderfully with each of these options though as they each add some extra freshness and variety to the texture of your meal.
For a truly simple yet effective side dish for your meal though is to serve it with a bowl of steaming rice, as this will always be a wonderful combination. This is because the rice will often be mostly neutral in flavour but very effective in soaking up the sauce from your stew.
That said though, the rice will add a subtle but noticeable nutty flavour to the dish along with a slightly chewy texture. Additionally, rice can be prepared in a number of ways to add extra flavours such as by making rice pilaf or some fried rice. Additionally, the use of different grain types such as white, jasmine, basmati, arborio or brown rice will also add additional variety.
Cheddar Cheese Biscuits
For a more doughy and heavier option for a beef stew side, some cheddar cheese biscuits (the American kind, not the English) are an excellent choice to accompany your beef stew. These add extra decadence to the dish with a cheddar cheese flavour that perfectly complements the beef whilst the crumbly, crispy and doughy textures perfectly complement the beef.
As mentioned above, these are perfectly suited for soaking up the sauce of your beef stew. Thes result of which is a wonderfully soggy and doughy sensation. Meanwhile, the saltiness and cheesiness flavours make for a perfect contrast to the beef.
For a more crusty texture though then toasting your biscuits is an excellent choice as doing so will make them almost akin to something like croutons.
For a softer, more springy, decadent and buttery option though, then dinner rolls are an excellent choice for your beef stew. Again, just like the option above, these are great for soaking up for sauce and also adding some extra texture to the dish.
If you don’t want to use dinner rolls though, then other options can also work excellently well. For example, baguettes add extra crustiness to them whilst something like focaccia leans more into the softer and doughy aspect.
Another way to add some starchiness and slightly bready nature to your meal without making it overly heavy. Instead, it provides that slight al dente bite and the noodly texture whilst brilliantly soaking up some of the sauce.
In particular, though, buttered egg noodles also add a wonderfully rich and creamy aspect to the meal whilst avoiding a clash between strong flavours.
Naturally, when serving egg noodles alongside your stew, you can always use a store-bought packet. However, another option is to make some yourself. Doing so is surprisingly quick and simple whilst also leading to better noodles overall.
Answered: What To Serve with Beef Stew?
Beef stew is a hearty, rich, warming and filling dish that is packed with a diverse array of tastes and textures. As such, the side dishes mentioned above reflect this in some manner by adding distinctive new textures whilst contrasting or mirroring the flavours of the stew.
With that in mind, which of the dishes above you choose will ultimately come down to your own palette, along with how heavy you want the meal to be. As such, experimenting with a combination of one or more of the above options with some ideas of your own is more than encouraged.
FAQ – What To Serve with Beef Stew?
What can I serve with my beef stew?
Beef stew can be served with a variety of different side dishes, although the best options will be light on flavour in order to allow the stew to really shine. As such dishes like mashed potatoes, egg noodles, grilled vegetables, rice or salads are all excellent options.
What do you serve with stew UK?
A wide variety of side dishes can be served with a traditional beef stew. The best options though will often be light on flavour though in order to allow your stew to take centre stage. As such dishes like mashed potatoes, egg noodles, grilled vegetables, rice or salads are all excellent options.
Do you serve stew in bowl or plate?
Stew can be perfectly served in a bowl or on a plate. That said though, whether you choose to serve stew in a bowl or on a plate will most likely be determined by the side dishes you choose to have with it. When eating it alone or with options of noodles, rice or bread, you will likely eat the stew from a bowl. However, with an array of vegetables or something like mashed potatoes, you will typically serve the stew on a plate.
What can I add to my stew to make it taste better?
The flavour of your stew can be improved in a variety of ways which will mainly depend on the result you desire. For extra savoury and umami flavours, Worcestershire or soy sauce are excellent options. Meanwhile, brown sugar or honey adds sweetness and lemon zest or vinegar will add freshness and brightness. Meanwhile, for some extra spice, seasonings like paprika, chilli powder or cayenne are excellent options.