Autumn Beef Stew (Tomato Free)

Stew has to be one of the most delicious and versatile one pot meals. And with cold winds blowing and rain falling around here, it’s certainly the right time of year to pull out my stew recipes! This one utilizes many of the delicious flavors in season right now, such as sweet squash and earthy mushrooms. I gave a basic beef stew in my ecourse that is a favorite. For this stew, I challenged myself to make a great tasting tomato free version. Because many of us didn’t get to can our own tomatoes this year (at least I didn’t) and all canned tomato product (excepting a few in glass jars) have BPA in it, I thought it would be a good thing to have in my stew repertoire. I also know that many avoid nightshades, so this is a great stew for you too. To make it high in flavor without the acidic tomatoes, I’ve added red wine and rich balsamic vinegar. Love it. It’s going to be my new recipe to turn too.

Beef stews often have very high amounts of beef in it, making it a not very frugal choice. I’ve found with a little experimenting that one doesn’t need 5 pounds of beef to make a pot of stew. 1-2 pounds does fine when you’ve added plenty of vegetables to the mix. Just remember that stews, like soups, are very versatile. You can easily play around with the ingredients and amounts to make it fit your preference.

Autumn Beef Stew

1 1/2 to 2 pounds of beef stew, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2-4 tablespoons of Fat of Choice (bacon grease, lard, tallow, coconut oil)
2 celery sticks, finely diced
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
6 cups of broth, beef or chicken (or combination of broth and water)
2 cups of red wine
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 to 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (to taste)
2 carrots, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
4 large potatoes, cubed (1/2 inch)
4 cups of peeled andΒ  cubed (1/2 inch) firm winter squash such as butternut, delicata, acorn, etc.
1 pound of mushrooms of choice, quartered
1 to 1 1/2 cups of corn, frozen or cut fresh off of the cob

1) In a large pot heat 2 tablespoons of fat of your choice over med high heat while you pat dry the beef stew meat. If you buy already cut, they will be in 1 inch cubes, you can cut them in half to make into smaller cubes. Salt and pepper the meat. In two batches brown the meat in the hot oil. Stir to brown all sides and remove. Add more fat as needed.

2) Add the finely chopped celery and onions (once again added a bit more fat if needed) and saute, stirring as needed to prevent browning or burning. Cook until soft (5-7 minutes). Then add the broth, wine, dried thyme, and bay leaves and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Cook for one hour.

3) At the end of the hour, add the potatoes, carrots, squash, and mushrooms and cook for one more hour. At the end of the second hour, your vegetables will be soft and your meat very tender. Then add the corn and cook until heated through, salt and pepper to taste, adjust with balsamic vinegar if needed, and serve.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!


  1. Naomi Phillips says

    This looks delicious! I have just recently found the marriage between balsamic vinegar and meats to be oh so tasty. I’m a big stew fan so I’ve got to try this.

  2. says

    Does balsamic vinegar go bad? i’ve had mine in the fridge for probably 2 years, this stew looks wonderful!! I love homemade beef stock and the smell that roasting my soup bones makes in the house. Love your blog!

  3. says

    Most people do not know that stew meat is made of scrapes in the butcher shop or area of their markets, and it contains almost 80 percent tenderloin, because the loin comes in with so much extra it has to be trimmed. Lean meat if you ask me. I used to think it was scrappy unwanted cuts of meats, well it is LOL, but better than we realize.

    I love this soup, my mom made it when I was growing up as an alternative for leaner times. Now I want soup all year long, not just cold seasons.

    Now I want a bowl of this!

    Thanks for posting, and the memory πŸ™‚

    • KimiHarris says

      My store makes stew meat out of a cheaper type steak, so it’s not scrapes, so it must depend on the market too. πŸ™‚

      • Heather says

        Yeah, I order from Burgundy Pasture Beef, and they have “tenderloin tails” as a separate cut from their stew meat. Both are good though. Highly recommend Burgundy if you or your readers ever want to check them out. I used to live in Texas and had their home delivery. Now I’m in CA and order from them. Great service. I know you have mentioned US Wellness before. In my opinion, Burgundy’s beef tastes better than what I’ve had from US Wellness. Though I like the snack options from Wellness . . . for what it’s worth . . . πŸ™‚ Your stew looks good.

  4. kathygrace says

    This looks sooooooo delicious! After cooking up a big roast on Sundays, Tues or Wed is always some kind of beef soup (vegetable or noodle). Well, my next roast is gonna’ be this recipe. I can hardly wait! Thanks for the good food!

  5. Lori says

    I love a good stew and make one several times per winter. I buy a chuck roast on sale (yes, even good organic meats can sometimes go on sale!), in about a 3- 3.5 pound size, cut it into bite-sized pieces, and place the fatty pieces face down in the Dutch oven that the fat renders out and I do not have to use extra fat from other sources. Once the beef is nicely browned, I remove and add more until it is all browned and a nice layer of fat and cooked meat is in the pan. I add some broth and scrape all that flavor from the bottom, then add the meat back in to cook, along with more stock. Homemade is best, but if I don’t have any I use the best store-bought I can find.
    I save any and all netting bags that I get from onions or lemons/limes that I purchase. Many of my family and friends save these for me so that I have plenty on hand (we grow most of our own onions). I place 1-2 onions quartered, 2-3 stalks of celery cut, leaves intact, 1-3 carrots cut, a bay leaf, some peppercorns, some fresh thyme into this netted bag, close up with a bread tie, and toss in the pot alongside the beef. This way I am not fishing these items out once done. I add some paprika (maybe a tablespoon) as this gives good flavor, some sea salt, and any other spices/ herbs I want to add during cooking. I also add some burgundy, if for adults (my kids don’t like it), and sometimes some balsamic or apple cider vinegar (especially if there are soup bones in the mix as this pulls out calcium in bones).
    About 25 minutes before meat is done, I remove the sachet bag of vegetables and herbs and toss (drain first), then I add my cut vegetables and cook till done. In the meantime, I make a roux of butter and flour, add a bit of broth, then stir into pot to thicken. I also add some fresh finely chopped parsley. My stew comes out much darker than the one pictured.
    When all the kids were small, I would make dumplings (fat biscuit dough-kind) to cook on top of the stew to make it extra hearty and round out the meal. I make these with unbleached flour (sometimes I add 1/4 whole wheat flour to them), palm oil shortening, fresh milk, and sea salt, then cook them along with the vegetables as they take about 20 minutes to cook.
    Hearty soups and stews are so easy to make, are so delicious and nourishing, and hit the spot on a cold winter day.

  6. Rosita says

    The recipe looks great. I will have to try it. I always love a good stew.

    I wanted to let you know about an alternative to canning tomatoes that we have done for the past two years now. We just wash them and freeze them whole on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and then put them in gallon freezer bags. Then you can pull them out one at a time as needed. We run them quickly under warm water and the skin peels right off. After sitting for 5 minutes or less (though not more), they easy to cut with a good knife. They taste like summer and are so much quicker to do than canning (since we both work outside the home and we have 3 children (4th due any day) we are always looking for ways to save time.) The only necessity is to have a large freezer, but if you do, this is definately the way to go.

  7. Ali Joy says

    This does look scrumptious. I love that you have gotten creative when it comes to avoiding canned food! Would the potatoes need to be omitted if one was avoiding nightshades?

    • KimiHarris says

      What?! Corn isn’t a vegetable? Just kidding, you are right. That’s what I get for trying to blog with a newborn. πŸ˜‰

  8. says

    During the cold season, I like to make a French beef stew called pot au feu. We put celery root, carrots, turnips, cabbage leeks and spices (cinnamon, star anise) for warmth. If we are having a large group, I steam some potatoes on the side for whoever wants them. It is delicious… even my French mther-in-law is proud of me on this one!

    There is also a small amount of beef compared to vegetables in this recipe, 3llbs for 6 servings and you don’t add extra broth… just use the juice that is cooked from the meat. If you want to make it extra nutritious and delicious, you can also add a few vertebrae bones from the cow, I recently posted this recipe here

  9. says

    Kimi, this looks SO amazing! Every time the season changes I am enthralled with the dishes that have come back into season. I feel this way every year when winter rolls around again. I love all the soups and stews and hearty peasant foods. Yummy!

    I just wrote on my blog about how I was sick over the weekend and had to cave in and take antibiotics. As part of restoring my probiotics in my gut, I need to get crackin’ making soups and stews like this.

  10. Heidi J. says

    Do you think you could make this without wine? I am pregnant and worried about adding alcohol to meals right now. Also, how would you adapt this to do it in a crock pot?

  11. says

    Such wonderful ingredients! I miss a good stew in the winter. πŸ™‚ I might substitute the regular potatoes for sweet potatoes to raise in the anti-inflammatory properties and lower the glycemic load. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  12. Cathy says

    I made this stew over the weekend and it was fabulous. I also didn’t have any wine in the house and didn’t miss it in the stew.

  13. Biz says

    I made this stew without the wine and the corn. In place of the potatoes, I did sweet potatoes. It’s delicious and satisfying. It reminds me of the stew my mom used to make but updated with some new veggies and flavors.
    Thank you, Kimi!
    This is definitely a keeper – so easy to make – just takes some basic prep and some time. I used the stewing times to wash dishes, clean out the fridge, wipe down cabinets and drawers and reorganize some pantry goods. Now I’ve got a clean kitchen and a hot bowl of yummy to sit down and enjoy πŸ™‚

  14. Hateesha says

    I fried the “beef” (we are using moose meat right now) and added the onions and celery. I put all the liquid in the crock pot… Do you think I can just throw everything else in the crock pot and the liquid will diminish? I’m wanting to make this for dinner tonight πŸ™‚

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