Hearty Low Carb Keto Beef Stew

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This hearty low carb beef stew is a filling meal that’s nutritious and delicious in equal measures. Think tender beef pieces in a thick, tasty sauce! Keto beef stew is a comfort food dish that is going to be a hit with the whole family, whether they are low carb or not.

a bowl with beef stew

Beef stew is one of my go-to dinners when it’s cold outside. What’s not to love about a nutritious stew to warm the tummy!

This one is so amazing that I was tempted to call it THE BEST keto beef stew. I know there are a lot of recipes out there claiming to be the best, but it’s really true for this one! The flavour is incredible and it’s packed with good-for-you whole foods ingredients.

The problem with traditional Stew

Stew is a classic winter dish. That’s why classic stew contains starchy root vegetables such as potatoes or parsnips, which are high in carbs.

What’s more, traditional beef stew recipes will tell you to thicken the sauce is with either cornstarch or flour. In my opinion, this makes it gloopy and unpleasant. And it also adds unnecessary carbs.

Low carb stew

ingredients to make beef stew

To make a gluten free low carb beef stew, I am using lower carb vegetables:

  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini

The first three in the list are part of the classic mirepoix mix. They are essential to make virtually any sauce taste good.

The zucchini is my secret weapon. It makes the sauce lovely and thick – without the need for additional starches.

Tips for tender beef

frying beef pieces in a saucepan

Before we get started, here are a few tricks to make beef lovely and tender.

Buy chuck roast. Beef chuck roast is affordable and becomes tender very quickly when stewed. I prefer it over traditional stewing cuts like brisket (which takes MANY HOURS to become tender). It is also extremely flavourful. Get your butcher to cut it into chunks for you.

Bring beef to room temperature. Searing meat straight from the fridge causes it to seize and toughen. I take mine out an hour before cooking.

Add wine and tomato paste. The acid in both wine and tomato helps to break down the connective tissue in the meat. This way, the beef becomes more tender.

Simmer with a lid on. This way, the stew meat stays moist, tenderises quicker and you don’t accidentally cook off all the liquid.

Quality counts. Lastly, I really believe it’s worth investing in the best quality beef you can afford. The batch you see in the photos was organic, grass fed beef. It was melt-in the mouth tender after just 90 minutes.

Lesser quality beef will take longer to cook. But don’t worry – you can just leave it in the pot for another hour or so. Eventually ALL beef becomes tender.

How to make keto beef stew

chopped vegetables in a a saucepan

There are just 3 basic steps!

Step 1 – Brown the meat. Sear the seasoned beef in a heavy bottomed pot or large dutch oven over medium heat until browned and caramelised from all sides. Don’t crowd the beef chunks – it may be necessary to do this in two batches. Also, leave the beef undisturbed as much as possible. No stirring!

Step 2 – Fry the vegetables. First, fry the onions, carrot, celery, courgettes and herbs, then add the garlic.

Step 3 – Combine everything and stew! Return the meat to the pan and add the tomato puree, coconut aminos, red wine and beef broth. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover to cook for 1 hour 30 minutes or until the beef is tender and sauce is thick and glossy. 

The perfect keto stew sauce – 2 ways

a ladle dipped into a pot with keto beef stew

You have two options to make a lovely thick sauce without xanthan gum or glucomannan. It all depends on whether your beef cooks quickly or needs more time.

For beef that cooks in 90 minutes stewing: Thicken the sauce. Remove ¾ cup of vegetables and juice and puree using a hand stick blender until smooth. Add back to pan, stir and serve!

For beef that’s still firm after 90 minutes: Add an additional 1 cup / 240ml of liquid and continue cooking for another 30 minutes – 1 hour. This way, the vegetables are so soft the sauce becomes thick and glossy all on its own.

Optional: During the last few minutes of cooking, you can add green vegetables for a little crunch. This is especially nice if you’ve had to cook the beef for 2 ½ hours as the original vegetables become very soft.

Green beens are a good choice, or kale.

Variations

Here are more vegetables that taste delicious in a low carb beef stew:

Shallots

rutabaga

turnip

radishes

celery root

mushrooms

All these should be added about 20-30 minutes before the stew is finished. The mushrooms need to be fried for 5 minutes in advance.

Not all of you may be able to get hold of coconut aminos, which adds a lovely umami note to the sauce. You can use soya sauce instead, or a dash or Worcestershire sauce.

a ladle filled with beef stew

Keto stew in the Instant Pot

If you’re making this recipe with an pressure cooker of Instant Pot, choose the sauté setting to prep your beef and vegetables as per recipe.

Then, cancel the sauté setting and choose manual and high pressure. Add the liquids and cook for 35 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minute, then do a quick release.

If you’re using a slow cooker, set it on low and cook for 6-8 hours.

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