Bean and Beef Stew


  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) olive oil
  • Salt and milled pepper
  • 1kg beef chuck (or any stewing beef or goulash), cut into cubes
  • A little cornflour, for coating
  • onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 packet (50g) tomato paste
  • 2 fresh or dried bay leaves (optional)
  • 2 sprigs each fresh rosemary and thyme, or ½ tsp (3ml) dried Italian mixed herbs
  • ½ cup (125ml) red wine (optional)
  • 1 can (400g) cherry tomatoes (or chopped tomatoes)
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-3 cups (500ml-750ml) beef stock
  • 500g carrots, thickly sliced
  • 400g baby marrows, thickly sliced
  • ¾ cup (180ml) barley
  • 2 cans (400g each) butter beans or cannellini beans
  • ½ packet (150g) kale or Swiss chard, torn or shredded
  • Cooked polentamashed potato or rice, for serving


  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot.
  2. Season meat and coat lightly in cornflour, dusting off excess – this helps meat brown better and will thicken sauce slightly.
  3. Brown meat in batches (remember, you want it to brown, not steam).
  4. Reduce heat, remove meat, add a splash of oil if needed and sauté onion in the same pot for 8-10 minutes or until golden-brown.
  5. Add garlic and fry for a minute.
  6. Return meat to pot, add tomato paste and herbs and fry for a minute until sticky.
  7. Add red wine, if using, and cook for a minute or until reduced by half.
  8. Stir in tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and beef stock. Season.
  9. Cover and simmer for about 40 minutes.
  10. Add vegetables and barley and cook for 30 minutes more, stirring regularly to avoid catching.
  11. Stir through beans and allow to heat up for a few minutes.
  12. Add kale or Swiss chard just before serving.
  13. Serve on polenta, mashed potato or rice.