Gluten-Free Beef Stew

beef stew

A few weeks back, when I was picking up eggs from Jacob’s Reward Farm, Cindy told me about a new event she was holding at the farm, called “Spinning Yarns: Cowboy Stories and Song.” This was to be a wonderful outdoor “picnic” of sorts, where there was to be cowboy-style music, stories, and of course, the attendees were more than welcome to bring along their spinning wheels and knitting needles, and gather for some laid-back fun. But everyone needed to eat, so she graciously asked if I would help her in that area. On the menu? A hearty beef stew – perfect for the theme of the event.

My first “catering” job! I was excited, of course. While I’ve prepared Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for 25-30 (our family is large!), I have never catered. I wanted to be sure everything was perfect, so I made sure I scheduled plenty of time for preparation, and even did a test run on a smaller portion of the dish earlier in the week. It was wonderful that so many of the guests brought side dishes; this allowed me to focus on one dish – beef stew. It was a wonderful setting for my maiden voyage into catering.

jacobs reward event 031

Yesterday was the big day. (Read more about it at the Jacob’s Reward Farm blog here) I had prepped most of the meat and vegetables the night before, but awoke at 5am (much to the dismay of my husband!) to get started. I didn’t want to be late! And thankfully, aside from a slight issue with the pot I’d recently purchased, (I bought a propane burner, along with a stainless pot set – and the pot cracked as soon as I placed heat on it. Thankfully I had my large aluminum tamale pot, which did the job perfectly.) everything went as planned. Until I left, that is. I set up at the farm, and only then remembered that I’d left my parsley on the kitchen counter. Good thing I only live 10 minutes away – I could run home and grab it. No harm done.

As for the event, it was wonderful. We couldn’t have had better weather. Practically the entire month of October has been rainy, but for the past few days, it has started to dry out. Yesterday was sunny and in the upper 60s – absolutely gorgeous. The musicians played wonderful cowboy-style fiddle, guitar, and banjo, and the storytellers spun yarns about famous icons of the cowboy days in Texas. It was a grand time. While I’m not a spinner/weaver, and I don’t know how to knit, I admired everyone’s work as they spun yarns and knitted scarves and socks.

My stew went over well, and was the perfect dish for such an event. I hope you enjoy it too.

Gluten-Free Beef Stew, adapted from Simply Recipes

½ lb beef stew meat

½ lb oxtail

Salt and pepper

3 garlic cloves, minced

½ yellow onion, chopped

½ large carrot, chopped

½ celery rib, chopped

3 c beef stock

½ c gluten-free beer (I used Bard’s Tale)

½ c red wine

1 T tomato paste

½ T sugar

1 T fresh thyme leaves

½ T Worcestershire

1 bay leaf

2 T butter

1 ½ lbs Yukon gold potatoes, diced ½ inch

1 c carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces

2 small parsnips, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces

1 turnip, diced into ½ inch pieces

Salt and pepper

1 T fresh parsley


Generously salt and pepper the stew meat and the oxtail. Heat a large, heavy pot to medium-high heat and brown the meat, turning with tongs to ensure all sides are browned. Remove and set aside. Add garlic, onion, carrot, and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add back meat, and add beef stock, beer, wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, and cover, allowing to simmer for 1 ½ – 2 hours.

Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat to medium heat and add butter. Add carrots, parsnips, and turnip to pot. Saute until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside until beef stew has simmered for 1 ½ 2 hours.

Once the meat is starting to fall away from the bones on the oxtail, remove from pot, and allow to cool for a few minutes. Remove meat from bones and add meat back into stew. Add the vegetables and potatoes, and allow to simmer for another 40 minutes, or until vegetables are tender throughout.

Salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with parsley.

Serves 4.


  1. says

    That’s really awesome that your stew came out great! It does look really good, too. Nice and hearty. Perfect for an event like that. You know I’ve always wanted to learn how to knit. I’ve seen several people on set bring their kits with them and I’ve always been intrigued by it.

  2. says

    I’m so glad that everything went well! The stew looks great, too! If you’re ever in the mood for a drastic career change, you now have a great option.

  3. says

    I made beef stew last week and we enjoyed it so much. I have never used oxtail, and wasn’t quite sure what people did with it. Now I know one way to use it!

  4. says

    Thank you so much for your fantastic addition to our cowboy event! I keep getting rave reviews from folks who attended and sampled your stew. It was the perfect dish for the event. I so appreciate your willingness to give catering a try – I knew the stew would come out great. If you ever need references, please let me know- I’ll sing your praises from the rooftops! You helped us round out a perfect day!

    PS. I ate all the pickles you gave me. I am a pickle piggy, thanks to you. I’m going to search your blog for the recipe. Not that I’ll make them; I’m just curious about your secret ingredients! 😉

  5. says

    I’m sure you were ready to put your feet up and relax after your event.—It’s a lot of work.

    Beer and wine in your stew—I bet it was packed with flavor!

  6. says

    Alta, I’m so happy for you!! Your first catering event, wow! So very cool! I just love your recipe. I’ve always wanted to use oxtail and have been asking all of my local farmers for some. So many people don’t use it. Lovely event and post! When can we make arrangements to hang out at a farmers market 😉

  7. says

    Looks great! We’re having some unseasonably cold weather here in the Northeast (it snowed yesterday!) and this would make a perfect evening meal.
    Congrats on your first catering job, too – you clearly hit it out of the park!

  8. says

    Your stew looks wonderful and I loved your “story” about the cowboy catering job! The photos added a nice element! It’s supposed to get cold with potential snow around here, beef stew is on my menu list, love the way your version sounds!

    • tastyeatsathome says

      Jenn (Bread+Butter) – I’ll have to learn how to knit one day, it’s fascinating. On the list of “things to learn before I die”!

      lululu and Linda – I love oxtail. It adds such a richness and this silky, umami flavor to the broth. Short ribs do a similar job. And of course, that slow-braised meat from those two cuts are just amazingly good. (if you ever braise oxtail, prepare yourself for primal “mmmmmm” sounds coming from your guests. It’s SO good, I wouldn’t be surprised if people gnawed at the bone.)

      Cindy – So glad it was so great. Also so glad you like the pickles!

      Squeaky Gourmet – I’ve only tried two – Redbridge and Bard’s, and much prefer the Bard’s. It’s similar to the (gluten-y) Fat Tire beer. Kinda heavier/darker, but not nearly as dark as say, a Shiner Bock.

      To everyone else – Thank you so much for the kind words!

  9. says

    Hi Alta, you cant imagine how sorry I was for not trying your stew!! buahhh I really wanted to just stay and forget about previuous commitments. Jorge is the one that can not stand being late for things and was rushing me away while ppl where starting to get in line for the stew… I know my dd Estefania wanted some too, she had her plate on her hand!!! Anyway, I know there is going to be another chance. RIGHT?? right??

    Thank you for sharing your recipe and good luck with your new catering bussiness!!!!


  10. says

    Your stew looks incredible! I am thrilled that all went well – I have absolutely no recent beef cooking experience as Joe won’t eat red meat. If some day I need to cook it, though, I’m going to ask you what to do. :)

    Congrats!!! What a wonderful, wonderful experience for you. Hopefully you’ll have many, many more!

  11. says

    Great looking stew! I’ve only tried oxtail once, but not in a soup or stew. I can’t really say that I enjoyed it. Maybe in a stew, I would enjoy the flavors. Thanks for sharing the recipe.


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