Beef stew simmering on the stoveThe weather has been a little all over the place here in upstate New York. First its rainy, then sunny, then back to rainy.

So this beef stew (originally made here by The Pioneer Woman) was perfect for Sunday night’s dinner. It was one of those last weekends you can cook comfort foods like this without sweating to death in our kitchen. From here on out, its mostly lighter, grilled meals throughout the summer.

I’ve tried a bunch of different stew recipes but this one is a home run for my family. Why? Because the potatoes are separate. I’m not a fan of overcooked potatoes that just get kind of gummy after simmering in a stew. These light-but-rich mashed potatoes (with the addition of cream cheese and lots of butter) are pure heaven. In fact, this might become my go-to mashed potato recipe. When you pour the hot stew down overtop those buttery potatoes, its pure magic.

This stew takes a decent amount of prep and simmer time so its definitely a weekend meal for my family. It’s also really great for having people over because you can make everything ahead of time and just reheat when you’re ready to eat. Pair this with those amazing homemade rolls, and you’ve got a great dinner party.

Some notes on this recipe: I changed the The Pioneer Woman’s recipe somewhat. Before adding the beef broth, I deglazed the pan with some red wine (about a half a cup). This helped make the sauce even richer and also gave me an excuse to pour myself a glass.

Also, I also omitted the sugar that she uses (not really needed). Also, I increased the number of carrots and I used parsnips instead of turnips. Just a personal preference, but use either of the root vegetables. Just make sure you use something pretty firm. Like I said above, potatoes would get way too mushy if they simmered that long. Also for the potatoes, I left out the seasoned salt. Again, it just wasn’t needed.

Read on for the recipe.

Sunday Night Stew

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: medium
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  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 1 whole medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 oz. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine (anything you’d like to drink)
  • 4 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 whole carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium (or 1 large) parsnip, peeled and diced

For mashed potatoes:

  • 5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (I used half-and-half because that’s what we had on hand)
  •  Salt and pepper, to taste


Salt and pepper stew meat. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add butter, and as soon as it melts, brown half the stew meat until the outside gets nice and brown, about 2 minutes. (Turn it as it browns.) Remove the meat from the pot with a slotted spoon and put it on a plate. Add the rest of the meat to the pot and brown it, too. Remove it to the same plate. Set the meat aside.

Add the onion and garlic to the pot, stirring it to coat it in all the brown bits in the bottom of the pot. Cook for two minutes, then add the tomato paste to the pot. Stir it into the onions and let it cook for two more minutes.

Deglaze the pan with the red wine and let cook for a couple minutes until its reduced. Pour in the beef stock, and add the Worcestershire sauce. Add the beef back to the pot, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours.

After 1 1/2 to 2 hours, add the parsnips and carrots to the pot. Stir to combine, put the lid back on the pot, and let it simmer for another 30 minutes. The sauce should be very thick, but if it seems overly so, splash in some beef broth until it thins it up enough. If the sauce is too thin, just simmer for a while with the top off. That will evaporate some of the liquid out of the pot.

When the carrots and turnips are tender, stir in minced parsley. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve piping hot in a bowl with mashed potatoes, letting the juice run all over everything.

For the mashed potatoes (I did these while the stew was simmering and just kept them warm in the oven):

Cut the potatoes into quarters and cover with water in a large pot. Boil until potatoes are fork tender, about 25-30 minutes. Drain the potatoes, then put them back into the same pot. With the heat on low, mash the potatoes for 2 to 3 minutes to release as much steam as possible. Turn off heat, then add cream cheese, butter, cream, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve potatoes immediately or spread them into a buttered baking dish to be reheated later. To reheat, put them in a 375 degree oven, covered in foil, until hot.