Beef Stew with a Secret Ingredient

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Recipe for a delicious beef stew that is sure to warm you on a chilly day.

Now that it is officially November and the weather outside is turning cooler, my kitchen stove has been getting warmer from more use after a summer spent using the outdoor grill to make dinner. There is nothing better when it is cold outside to come home to the delicious smell of a pot of beef stew simmering on the stove. It adds the finishing touch to everything fall and creating the comfy cozy factor that affects all my senses.

Jumbo blue and white cup and saucer filled with beef stew. Spoon resting on saucer.

I don’t share many recipes, but when I do, they are the best of the best in my recipe box. The ones that have family and friends asking for more. This is the case with my mom’s beef stew.

My mom is no longer alive, but this recipe was one of her best. I remember as a child watching her make it and learning the secret ingredient she added that made it taste sooooo good! Even as kids, my siblings and I loved this stew and even ate the carrots without complaint!!!

white plate filled with Beef stew for dinner

When I got married, I began to make the recipe to serve for dinner and as the years went by it became a favorite of my daughters, too. I made it a lot and always on Halloween night.  It became a Halloween tradition. My daughters who live in the same town, called me on Tuesday night, (Halloween) as they were making the stew and had a few questions for me so they would make it just the way they remembered.

So what makes this beef stew the best, most delicious stew ever…

a bottle of Holland House Sherry Cooking Wine

… Sherry Cooking Wine… half a bottle of it or more.  I have always used this brand since it is what my mom used, but any brand of cooking sherry or even apéritif Sherry will add the flavor that makes the stew taste so good.

Another delicious aspect of making this stew for dinner when you are only serving 2 or 3 people for dinner is that you will have leftovers.

Best Beef Stew Recipe served for lunch in a Spode Italian Large cup and saucer.

The day after we had the beef stew for dinner, I heated it up and served the leftovers for my lunch in my Spode Blue Italian Jumbo Cup and Saucer. 

Beef stew being made in a pot on the stove.

On the third day when the meat, potatoes, and carrots were gone and all that was left was the juice. I used the juice leftovers to make one more meal.

Package of Anne's Flat Dumplings.

My mom used to make dumplings from scratch until she found these, Anne’s Old Fashioned Flat Dumplings at the supermarket. They are just as good as home-made dumplings.

To cook them all you need to do is drop them in boiling water. Cook until they float, drain and then put back in the empty pot with some melted butter and salt. Mix well.

A bowl of leftover stew on a table.

Place the dumplings in a bowl and then pour the leftover stew juice on top. Sprinkle some grated cheese on top and you have one more delicious meal from one pot of stew.

Beef Stew recipe that has a secret ingredient in it that makes it extra delicious and hearty for a cold winter's night meal.
Print Recipe
4.8 from 5 votes

Beef Stew With Secret Ingredient

Better than Grandma's Beef Stew and easy to make. Serve the stew by itself or spooned over dumplings.
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Beef Stew
Servings: 4
Calories: 400kcal
Author: In My Own Style


  • 1-1/2 pounds chuck loin cubes
  • 1/4 cup sifted flour
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup sliced onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups water
  • 8-12 ounces sherry cooking wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups potatoes, cubed
  • 1-1/2 cups carrots, chopped into chunks
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
  • Aunt Anne's Flat Dumplings optional


  • Flour beef cubes and brown in butter in a Dutch Oven.
  • Cook onions and garlic in with the beef until tender.
  • Add water, sherry, parsley, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Cover and let simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Add potatoes, carrots, celery, green pepper; Cover again and simmer 15 minutes or longer until the veggies are soft.


Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 1930mg | Potassium: 846mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Calcium: 62mg

Do you have a family favorite recipe that you can make without even having to read it from a recipe card since you have made it so many times?

Beef Stew recipe that has a secret ingredient in it that makes it extra delicious and hearty for a cold winter's night meal.

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  1. This sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing this recipe from your mom. I know I cherish my mom’s recipes so much now that she’s passed. I have a couple that I know by heart….and they are family favorites! ;)

  2. I’ll check the stores here in Connecticut, but I’ve never noticed “Anne’s Dumplings”. I do remember my mom ordering chicken and dumplings somewhere and being very disappointed with the ‘noodles’ served. We expected dumplings – like biscuits – which was the way HER mother made dumplings. She also used the same dough to make apple dumplings – YUM!!

    1. Hi Pat – The dumplings are hard to find in stores. Some stores place them with the frozen pasta, others with frozen bread. I always scan for the red and yellow box to find them. They have a website where I think you can find stores listed in your area that sell them. It is

  3. You don’t mention in the instructions,but I assume you add the sherry when you add the water and other ingredients mentioned at that time.
    I intend to use your recipe even though I make a good beef stew also. I’m always ready to try another version. Can’t wait to get to the grocery for supplies.

    1. Hi Pat – Thanks for telling me about the sherry. I had trouble with the tech that allows me to create printable recipes on my blog. I had to redo the recipe and forgot to all that. It is fixed now. :-) I agree it is fun to try different stews and even chili recipes, but this stew will always be my favorite.

  4. I developed a “Baked chicken in Sun-dried Tomato Dressing” that is a no-fail but it tastes (and looks) like a million bucks. :-) It’s one of those ‘invented’ recipes that you truly don’t have to have exact measurements for and it’ll still turn out great!

  5. Thanks for sharing the recipe!! I look forward to trying it. We make my dads chili every Halloween and always wonder why we don’t make it more often.