Beef Stew with Root Vegetables Recipe

I’ve noticed that my cooking is most often vegetable-driven: I will buy fresh veggies at the market or at the produce stall, and then decide what fish or meat will complement them — not the other way around.

On Saturday morning I returned from the farmers’ market with a basket of mostly root vegetables, not such a surprise in December: tiny spuds with a skin so thin you feel they should wear chapstick, young carrots with a wild tuft of bright green hair, and parsley roots, which were a novelty to me. They are called persil tubéreux in French, they look and taste somewhat like parsnips, and their small and flat leaves are a very tasty parsley that resists frost. Just like parsnips, they belong to the family of “forgotten vegetables” that were once very common but have fallen out of fashion — because they’re too vividly associated with war food, difficult to cultivate and prepare, or simply not very palatable to the modern eater.

Once this trio of root vegetables was neatly put to bed in their fridge drawer, it occurred to me that they would be lovely in a simple beef stew, slowly cooked so the different flavors would have time to meld. The next morning I paid a visit to my butcher Mario, asked for advice regarding the cut — I am not a very experienced stew maker — and got the jumeau he recommended, a tender cut taken from the upper part of the front leg. Mario’s wife then weighed it on an ancient mechanical scale because their electronic one had just broken down and it was Sunday so the repairman was unavailable.

This was the perfect dish to make on an ice-cold Sunday afternoon: around five I started peeling the vegetables, set the stew to simmer over low heat, and went about the house doing other things, intermittently coming back to check on it, breathe in the warm smells and get my glasses all steamed up. It was also the perfect dish to eat on a similarly ice-cold Sunday night, warm and comforting, with soft textures and sweet aromatic notes.

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Beef Stew with Root Vegetables Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes

Serves 4.

Beef Stew with Root Vegetables Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 800 grams (1.8 pounds) boneless beef chuck (for those cooking in France, I used a cut called jumeau -- paleron or macreuse would work well too), cut in 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 600 grams (1 1/3 pounds) carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 600 grams (1 1/3 pounds) parsnips or root parsley (persil tubéreux in French), peeled and sliced
  • 300 grams (10 ounces) fingerling or new potatoes, scrubbed and sliced (it is unnecessary to peel them)
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 240 ml (1 cup) red wine


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or cocotte over medium-high heat.
  2. Add in the onions, garlic and a tablespoon of water, and cook for a few minutes until translucent.
  3. Add in the meat and cook for a few more minutes, browning the pieces on all sides.
  4. Remove the meat and set aside on a plate.
  5. Add in the carrots, parsnips and potatoes, season with salt, pepper and cumin, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
  6. Return the meat to the pot, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and pour in the red wine and 480 ml (2 cups) boiling water. Bring to a simmer, cover and lower the heat.
  7. Keep at a low simmer for 3 hours, stirring from time to time and adding in a little more water if the cooking juices seem to evaporate too much. You want to end up with a silky sauce, not too thick but not too watery either.
  8. Serve immediately, with a final sprinkle of salt on the meat. Alternatively you can let the stew cool, refrigerate, and reheat it to serve the next day; the flavors will improve overnight.
  • Sylvie

    And the next day, it will taste even better !

  • Oh! I wish I would have seen this yesterday! We’ve been having freezing rain all weekend, so it was really was an ice-cold Sunday here too! Sounds delicious!

  • CD

    Love this – looks nice and hearty! I love root veggies – just made a lemon garlic roasted vegetable dish for a dinner party and it went pretty fast ….. Si tu veux voir une recette d’un gateau au chocolat et thé (ouais, thé!), vas a mon site –

    Merci pour les anecdotes et les recettes si magnifiques!


  • HM

    I’ve been wanting to make soups in my new apartment’s tiny kitchen to ward off the particularly intense cold considering Japanese buildings don’t have central heating or insulation. This soup sounds great, though I don’t think I can find the same root vegetables in Japan. Maybe I’ll use some bright red Kyoto carrots, and there are huge bulbous white root vegetables in the grocery store that I might try.

  • Aidan Maconachy

    We tried it on a day that was also bone numbing up here in Ontario. Delicious!! We grow our own veggies here, so when they are in season we will revisit the recipe- ty.

  • how perfect! i’ve got chuck in the fridge, carrots in the crisper and some leftover red wine. i’m off to get me some parsnips (one of my favorite root veggies! thanks for the great idea.

  • Joan

    don’t forget some of us are in the middle of Summer!!!! even the image of the stew made me feel even hotter :-)

    Winter = stews ….absolutely! I can dream of Winters…and agree about the ‘tasting better the next day’…the ingredients seem to have time to get to know each other…bonding time..

  • Te souhaites de bonnes fêtes ainsi qu’à ta p’tite tribu !

  • I made this yesterday and it was awesome!

  • Shira

    I made this the first day of the NYC transit strike- after walking all day in the cold first the smell warmed us up and when it was done this was the most satisfying meal possible for that kind of a day.

  • Aidan Maconachy

    I’m a serious garlic enthusiast, and I went well over the recommended 2 cloves. It added additional zest and edge.

  • It’s a warm Indian summer day in Chicago… but still opted to cook cook the beef stew… I know, I know more of a winter dish, but actually was quite good, a great fit with our end of summer weather.

  • my grandma use to prepare a dish similar to this during winter. it never fails to satisfy us. will try this though. nice recipe.

  • elizabeth

    This stew souds so simple & good. I have dinner guest on this Friday, I am going to try this stew. I am sure everyone will enjoy it for sure. Merci Clotilde, elizabeth

  • sadie

    This looks delicious. I don’t usually cook with wine, though. Any suggestions for how I could replace it?

    • The wine plays an important part in the flavor of the dish, but you could replace it with the same amount of stock.

  • Wendy

    Can this be cooked in oven rather than on stove top?

    • Absolutely! I would set the oven to a low temp — say, 120°C (250°F) — for about three hours, using a closed pot, of course.

  • Laura

    I am pretty sure parsnips are called panais in French. Sounds less glamorous than persil tubéreux but I you are more likely to find them under their more common name.

    • Thanks Laura. That’s right, parsnips are indeed called panais in French. Persil tubéreux is another root vegetable entirely, called root parsley in English. It’s pretty close in flavor and texture to parsnip, though, so they can be used pretty much interchangeably.

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