This Braised Beef Stew with Cranberries uses beef cubes, braised with red wine, stock and cranberry sauce, cooked until fork tender and full of flavour. Great use for left-over cranberry sauce!
I think most people have enjoyed cranberries in or with savoury dishes. They pair beautifully with turkey, of course. And I’ve cooked them up several times with pork. So it shouldn’t really be surprising that cranberries are lovely with beef, too. (But it was just a little ;)
We don’t eat a ton of beef, but this time of year, I have to say, there is nothing nicer than braised beef over mashed potatoes. In this case, the beef was braised simply with stock, red wine and cranberry sauce. Yes, cranberry sauce. So if your Thanksgiving is still ahead of you, tuck this easy recipe away to use up your left-over cranberry sauce!
If you don’t have cranberry sauce at hand, use my super quick and dead easy recipe for cranberry sauce below an you’ll be ready to go in no time! And yes, you could also used canned whole berry cranberry sauce, but honestly, if you can get your hands on fresh (or frozen) cranberryies, my homemade sauce is almost as quick and easy as opening a can. Really!
Just a note about the mashed potatoes. They are horseradish flavoured. Simply stir 1-2 tsp. (or more, if you dare) in to your regular mashed potatoes. The flavour combination with the beef and cranberries is a little bit of perfection.
Braised Beef Stew with Cranberries
- 1 /2 cup water
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- Cooking oil
- 2 lbs stewing beef cubes
- 2 small onions, thinly sliced
- 1 1/4 cups red wine
- 1 1/4 cups stock (beef or chicken)
- 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
- 2 tsp fresh thyme sprigs (or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves)
- 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
- 2 tsp cornstarch, for thickening at end, if necessary
- Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
For the cranberry sauce: Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir well. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring regularly, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until most but not all of the cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened. Remove to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate if not using immediately. (Left-overs can also be frozen).
For the stew, cut the stewing beef in to 1-inch chunks if not already that small. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat. Add 1/2 of the beef cubes. Cook, stirring, until evenly browned on all sides. Remove to a plate. Add another 1 Tbsp. oil to the pan and the remaining beef cubes. Cook until browned and remove to the plate.
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in same pan. Add the onions and cook, stirring regularly until golden. Return the beef to the pan. Add the wine, stock and 1/4 cup of cranberry sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring well with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered at a gentle simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the cover at 1 1/2 hours and check that meat is tender. If so, add a further 1/2 cup of cranberry sauce. Stir to combine. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed. If the cranberry taste seems too subtle, add a bit more and stir in. Cranberry taste should be present, but not over-powering the beef. Simmer for a further 5 minutes. If sauce needs thickening, spoon out 3 Tbsp. of the stew broth and combine with 2 tsp. cornstarch. Add mixture a bit at a time back in to stew and cook, stirring, until sauce reaches desired thickness.
Serve with a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley. Especially nice over mashed potatoes. If desired, flavour mashed potatoes with a few teaspoons of horseradish for a lovely complement to the stew.