Make Ahead

Gaston Stew

January 23, 2012
5 Ratings
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

My unadventurous mother passed this recipe along as one that was "never-fail", and I believe she may have gotten it from that good old standby The Joy of Cooking, but of that I'm not sure as I only have the stained and well-worn index card she passed along. We've been cooking it in our family for over three generations and think it's the tastiest stew around. The peppercorns and cloves bring an unusually satisfying flavor to the gravy. —Seaward

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 2 pounds Beef, cut into pieces for stewing
  • 1 tablespoon All-Purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Freshly groung pepper
  • 1 1/2 Cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 Large onion, chopped
  • 1 Bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup of hot water
  • 8 ounces Canned tomato sauce
  • 12 Pepper corns
  • 3 Whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup Parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 Bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup Sherry or white wine
  • 6 Medium-size potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 6-8 Carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 1 Stalk of celery, chopped
  1. Heat the oil and butter together in a large dutch oven. Brown the meat in the oil/butter over a hot fire.
  2. Sprinkle the meat with the flour, salt and pepper. Stir to coat the meat well.
  3. In a separate saucepan, combine and heat until boiling: garlic, onions, bouillon, tomato sauce, pepper corns, cloves, parsley, and the bay leaf. Add to the meat in the dutch oven, mix well.
  4. Simmer the meat/sauce mixture for about 4 hours. After 3 hours add the sherry/white wine.
  5. Cook the potatoes and carrots separately until tender but not overdone. Add the vegetables for the last 15 minutes of cooking.
  6. As with so many stews, this can be and often is better "the next day" although it's tasty any time. If you need to add fluid when reheating, add beef stock.
  7. Serve with crusty toasted bread, to soak up the sauce/gravy.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Catherine Sengel
    Catherine Sengel
  • Edward Roche
    Edward Roche
  • Connie
  • ubs2007

4 Reviews

Connie June 30, 2022
My mom has been making this family favorite since the 60's. I have now taught my daughter to make it. Instead of potatoes, we serve it over wide egg noodles.
Catherine S. December 17, 2020
Yes this is from the Joy of Cooking. I put my copy from the late 1960s into storage, and had to call a friend for the recipe yesterday. Today I googled Gaston Beef Stew and found this. A go-to recipe for decades, The Joy of Cooking is the original source I'm glad to report. I don't have the recipe in front of me, but I don't recall cooking anything in a separate pan, but I don't think it makes much of a difference. The original also begins with salt pork rather than butter and oil, but salt pork then is not the same product as what's out there now.
Edward R. July 30, 2020
So what do you do with the stalk of celery? I've always added the vegetables to the beef stew just before it's done. I love this stuff it's good. Sometimes I throw in some mushrooms and flour to thicken it. The smell drives you wild!
ubs2007 February 5, 2012
Absolutely flavorful and scrumptious! My 4.5 yr old said, "this is amazing." Next day, my son insisted that I serve it for a dinner party. People couldn't stop eating the stew! It was a hit! Only issue: beef seemed dry after 2.5 hrs and I needed to add water 3 -4 times since the broth evaporated. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe!!!