One–pot Vietnamese Beef Stew supergolden bakes

Saturday, 18 October 2014

One–pot Vietnamese Beef Stew

One–pot Vietnamese Beef and Squash Stew

Is there anything better or more comforting than a slow-cooked one-pot meal when the temperature drops and days grow shorter? Casseroles, stews, curries and pot roasts – they are good for the soul. The fact that they require little effort and minimal washing up doesn't hurt either. I am currently pretty obsessed with one-pot wonders given that I am cooking in a temporary kitchen set up in our living room while our kitchen is being renovated (newsflash: we now have a floor and skylights in place – so exciting).

Another reason behind my obsession is that Le Creuset send me a Classic Cast Iron Shallow Casserole* (I know, I can hardly believe it myself) and it is a thing of real beauty. I did consider putting on display and simply admiring it from afar but that would have been a real waste. Because, apart from its understated good looks, this casserole is an absolute joy to cook in. I am going to be putting that lifetime warranty through its paces let me tell you.

I road-tested my new casserole with a recipe I have been making for years - Vietnamese beef stew. It is such an amazingly fragrant and comforting dish that, like most stews, tastes even better the day after its made. You can use inexpensive cuts of meat (braising steak, or shin) as the long and slow cooking guarantees they will be melt-in-the-mouth tender by time you tuck in. I like to add butternut squash to make this stew stretch further and occasionally throw in sweet potatoes as well. Just add these vegetables towards the end as they will disintegrate too much if added early on. Serve in the casserole (it will keep the food warm plus it looks so good on the table) with plenty of crusty bread - a French baguette preferably - and some red wine.


One–pot Vietnamese Beef and Squash Stew

One–pot Vietnamese Beef and Squash Stew
One–pot Vietnamese Beef and Squash Stew

One–pot Vietnamese Beef Stew
Serves 4
900g (2lb) beef shin, cut into cubes
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
1 tsp ground pepper
2 lemongrass stalks, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp palm sugar (or dark brown sugar)
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4 banana shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
2 kaffir lime leaves
625ml | 2 1/2 cups hot beef stock
450g | 1lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
Basil leaves, chopped to garnish

Method
  1. Combine the beef, flour, spice, pepper, lemongrass, garlic, soy sauce and sugar in a bowl and mix well. Leave to marinate for an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160C (325F) and have all your vegetables prepared.
  3. Put the oil in the casserole and heat over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, lower the temperature to medium-low and brown the beef cubes.
  4. Add the shallots and chillies and fry for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, carrots, cinnamon stick, star anise, kaffir lime leaves and stock and bring slowly to a rolling simmer.
  6. Cover the casserole and transfer to the oven. Cook for an hour then add the butternut squash (be careful the pot will be very hot) and give the stew a stir.
  7. Return to the oven and cook for a further 45 minutes to 1 hour until meat is very tender.
  8. Add some chopped basil leaves, check the seasoning and serve with crusty bread.
Notes: You can make this in any lidded casserole (Dutch oven) and it can be left to slowly simmer on the stove for 2 hours.

One–pot Vietnamese Beef Stew

One–pot Vietnamese Beef Stew

Le Creuset have been making their iconic cast iron pots since 1925, and much of the finishing on each pot is done by hand making each one unique. They come with a lifetime warranty and can take the heat of the oven but also used on pretty much any kind of stovetop. Such quality (sadly) doesn't come cheap but bear in mind that with a little care you could be passing your pots down the generations. (Please note items marked with an asterisk are affiliate links).

More one-pot recipes using my lovely Le Creuset casserole...


One-pot beef curry with spinach & cauliflower – who says low-carb has to be boring?


One-pot chicken casserole with mushrooms, chestnuts and rice – so easy!


54 comments:

  1. Oooh Lucy that looks stunning. Anything slow and simmering like this always makes me think of long winter walks and lazy Sunday's. Gorgeous recipe x

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  2. This stew looks amazing..... I have to make it! I so love a good one-pot wonder too, especially when the weather starts to cool. Great mix of ingredients..... the butternut is a perfect addition.

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  3. 'Is there anything better or more comforting than a slow-cooked one-pot meal when the temperature drops and days grow shorter?'
    NO! This looks amazing. I am going to make it asap.

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  4. Just popped this in the oven! Smells amazing, can't wait to taste the final product. Also, I'm assuming you meant "grape seed" oil. ;) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. That's awesome! Hope you like it. It is rapeseed oil btw (different from grape seed)

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  5. In America we call rape seed oil canola oil. This looks so good and as though it would perfume the kitchen making it difficult to wait those last 45 minutes to eat! Thanks for posting.

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    1. That's really good to know! I always wondered what canola oil is...

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  6. Lucy - how do I print your recipe? That stew looks delicious. Also, some of your ingredients probably have to be purchased at a Vietnamese store, right?

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    1. Hi Kathie – apart from the Kaffir Lime leaves (which I have now spotted in mainstream supermarkets in the UK) everything else is pretty common. You can leave the kaffir leaves out. In terms of printing the recipe I really need to migrate to Wordpress (in the works) – I will create a PDF for you!

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    2. Hi Kathie – a PDF can be accessed here
      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ntg8X4XFr0Joc3SUGu-Dd6JxJwt1CeBKI7wC-jU8DdQ/edit?usp=sharing

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  7. I found this recipe on Pinterest, and my husband and I made it yesterday. It was delicious!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment Lisa – you made my day : )

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  8. I made this tonight and it was SO GOOD!! Definitely will be making again. We used beef short ribs and it was delicious. The aroma of the dish while it simmered in the oven – wow. Incredible. Thanks for such a great recipe!!

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    1. Hi Kristen - so glad you liked it! It definitely has the most intense aroma... Short ribs sound amazing!

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  9. That looks so good. My kind of cooking. Love spicy stews and flavours. Bookmarked now! :)

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  10. How "spicy" is this? I've just been diagnosed with ulcers and my tummy can't take much right now. By the way, how do you get companies to just send you their products?

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    1. Hi Debbie, sorry to hear about the ulcers : (
      This isn't hugely spicy and if you prefer it milder you can leave out the chillies.
      I am really lucky to work with a number of lovely brands who send me their products to use in recipes/on the blog – perks of being a food blogger!

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  11. I adapted this as a slow cooker recipe! I marinated and browned the meat as instructed, sauteed shallots / peppers, then added it all to the slow cooker with all other ingredients except butternut squash. I slow cooked on low for 9.5 hrs, then steamed butternut squash until fork tender and added it to the stew at the end. Fantastic!

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    1. I had a feeling this would work well in a slow cooker! So glad you liked it : )

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  12. Lucy if I want to cook this on the stove, do I cook the meat for awhile first and then add the squash? (I'm assuming yes, but wanted to be sure) Can't wait to make this later in the week! :)

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    1. Hi Staci – yes, due to the long cooking time it is best to add the squash towards the end. It needs about 30 minutes cooking, anything beyond that and it starts to melt down into the stew (which isn't so bad). Hope you like the recipe : )

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    2. Thanks Lucy! Its on the menu for tomorrow night! I'll let you know what the fam thinks. :)

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    3. RAVE reviews from my family! My youngest daughter wants to me to make this for her birthday dinner (in August!) lol thanks for the fantastic recipe!! :)

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  13. Thanks so much for reporting back Staci! You have made my day!

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  14. Hello Lucy. Do you think this would work with pork?

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    1. Hmmm.... not sure pork would work that well. Apart from the fact that it is usually leaner than beef and doesn't really like long cooking times (unless it's shoulder of pork /pulled pork) I am not sure the flavours would work as well.

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  15. okay, this stew is called bo kho, and it usually only has beef, and carrots as big stuff chunky stuff in it, and i would suggest adding some fish sauce to the recipe for it to be truly vietnamese and not just a really good beef stew

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  16. I made this for my family, my 3 1/2 year old daughter had 3 serves, my 6 year old son has begged me to make it again, and my hubby loved it too. So easy and tasty, I have shared the recipe with all my friends.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Melli. That's so lovely to hear!

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  17. First class comfort food. Made this last night, bowls licked clean and everybody left hankering for more. Thanks for posting.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by to comment! Actually making this tonight - cold weather has some perks : )

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  18. Looks lovely! Could you please let me know what size this Le Creuset casserole is?

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    1. It is 12in /30cm - I can't find it on their website at the moment!

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  19. Wow, that looks so delicious. Hard to believe it's a "one pot wonder". You have inspired me!

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  20. Hi,

    I'd like to make this for my b-day next week but have one vegetarian coming over. Is it possible to make the same for her just to substitute the beef with tofu or something?
    I'll make two pots, I just wouldn't like making something entirely different.

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    1. Hi - not sure tofu would work well in a stew. But you could maybe pan fry it and add it at the end?
      You could bulk up the stew with more vegetables - maybe potatoes or sweet potatoes (add those 30 minutes before the end of cooking) and stir in some spinach just before you serve so that it wilts. I have to say a lot of the flavour probably comes from the beef!

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    2. Hi Lucy,

      Thanks for your advice! I think I will just have to try and come up with something like that. Maybe I'll just make the same basis and add some tofu, lentils and sweet potatoes and spinach near the end.
      Maybe I could try to enhance the flavour with some wine, what do you think?

      I'm gonna do a test to see if it could be good like that.

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    3. Not sure about wine - red wine has very strong flavour and might obscure the spices. White wine maybe but not needed - think the tomatoes, star anise and cinnamon stand on their own and create a really aromatic broth even if you used vegetable instead of beef stock with them

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    4. Thank you for all your advice, will do a test on the vegetarian 'stew', so I will let you know how it was!

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    5. Please do report back - I really want to know how it turns out!

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  21. This is the best beef stew I've ever had! They can get a little boring sometimes, although great comfort food. But there is nothing boring about this one! I am so looking forward to the leftovers tonight for dinner.

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    1. Thanks for coming here to comment! So glad you liked it : )

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  22. I loved how this turned out! I made it in a slow cooker. https://www.instagram.com/p/BAyRF0XEcT-pNyqRsNTQ69r5sYJ4YLNXsO_ESo0/

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  23. I loved how this turned out! I made it in a slow cooker. https://www.instagram.com/p/BAyRF0XEcT-pNyqRsNTQ69r5sYJ4YLNXsO_ESo0/

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  24. I made this tonight and it was amazing. I didn't have the lime leaves but made do with some dried lemon grass and pepper in addition to the fresh lemon grass. The dried lemon grass did make a difference and added a brightness. I'm going to try this with lamb next time.

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  25. Oh and my husband and I rate our homemade meals. He gave this a 9. Very few meals hit that high a rating.

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    1. I am so glad you rate it so highly! Thanks for stopping by to comment – it really means the world to me to hear back from readers who have cooked my recipes.

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  26. This looks delicious and I can't wait to try it. Where would I be able to find banana shallots? I'm only seeing shallots, would they work just as well?

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    1. Yes regular shallots would be fine - banana shallots are just a little larger in size. If your shallots are really small add an extra one. Hope you like the recipe!

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  27. I've made this 3 times and love it! So aromatic and flavorful! The only thing I couldn't find was rape seed oil so I used olive oil and it was fine. I also used lemon grass from a tube b/c I couldn't find fresh lemon grass. I took the seeds out of one chile but kept them in the 2nd one and that was the right amount of heat for me. Wonderful recipe!

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    1. Thanks for your comment - so glad you enjoy this recipe! Yes lemongrass paste is very useful when you can't source the stalks.

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  28. In my small town of Hilo on the Big island of Hawaii, we have a small oceanside Vietnamese restaurant that makes this stew and serves it with fresh baked crusty french bread...perfection. However, I may venture to make a pot of stew at home. Thank you for this recipe.

    I have an abundance of lemon grass growing in my yard. I use it for making tea. However, because it is so woody Im concerned about mincing and leaving it in. Does it break down well in a stew?
    Mahalo!

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    1. Hiya - so envious of you being in Hawaii! I tried growing lemongrass in London and needless to say it didn't take to British weather so well. I would pull out the tough outer leaves and just use the soft core in the center, sliced really thinly. Or if you use the more woody stalk just remove it before serving.

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