Beef Stew with Gremolata

This easy recipe for Beef Stew with Gremolata can be prepared in the crockpot, slow cooker or Wonderbag. Your house will smell diving while it slowly cooks away until the meat is tender. Stews are so nourishing and healthy, real comfort food for your body and soul.

So when I am not cooking or writing recipes or being a responsible custodian of two small humans, I am probably at the store buying food – again.

Friends, I feel like I spend ALL my money on food and there is never anything in the fridge. How does this happen? Truly, some days I just can’t even.

So unless you are really oblivious to prices and what things cost, you may have noticed that everything edible has pretty much quadrupled in price. Or, to put things in terms my Dear Husband can understand; when you do your little stroll through Tannie Woolie on a Saturday morning, you may be leaving with the same amount of bags but you have more than likely spent twice the amount of money than you did say 4 months ago.

My heart breaks every time I am at the till. Not for me, but because every time I am paying more, it makes me wonder how people earning so very little are able to put food on their tables every single day of the month.

Between the soaring food costs and the drought I feel invested in – no scratch that –I feel absolutely compelled to shop better. Not in a sense of making sure that I spend less, although let’s be honest that would be great too, but in the sense that I want us as a family to become more mindful of what we buy, how we use it and equally importantly, what we can do without.

This easy recipe for Beef Stew with Gremolata can be prepared in the crockpot, slow cooker or Wonderbag. Your house will smell diving while it slowly cooks away until the meat is tender. Stews are so nourishing and healthy, real comfort food for your body and soul.

This easy recipe for Beef Stew with Gremolata can be prepared in the crockpot, slow cooker or Wonderbag. Your house will smell diving while it slowly cooks away until the meat is tender. Stews are so nourishing and healthy, real comfort food for your body and soul.


Shopping better means that I have to plan better. Now, I have never planned dinner meals for the week before say 5 pm on the actual night they are needed, so obviously this is not an area of strength for me.  But one must try.

This past month I decided to concentrate on doing better with regards to our meat and so decided to buy a rather delicious sounding reasonably priced meat hamper from my butcher. We have an amazing butchery here in Paarl and if you are buying your meat from a supermarket, just stop it. Go get great meat at better prices from a butcher.

Anyway, just to confirm that I know exactly what I am talking about when it comes to food, I managed to quite unexpectedly buy about 12 kgs of meat for a family of four in one go. It made me ever so grateful for my big freezer. Included in the meat hamper were packs of beef goulash, beef stew and lamb stew, all great cuts for slow cooking but to be honest, not ones I buy often. When you only start cooking dinner at five or six pm these are not really cuts that can work well for dinners on the fly.

But since I now had them, I decided to make the most of them and I have to say that am pretty well pleased with the dinners we have enjoyed this past month. One trick I learned was to cook two dinners in one go. I make one usual Sam style super quick throw it all together kind of dinner, while at the same time I get a dish like this Beef Stew with Gremolata on the go for the next night. (I pop stews into my Wonderbag for the night.) Turning less expensive cuts of meat into awesome dinners the night before we actually need them makes me feel like Martha Stewart, all prepared and housewifely.

Before I have to head out to the store again, do you have any food cost saving kind of tips for me? What are you doing to ward off depression and misery at the tills? Tell me how you do it.

Recipes and inspiration from Sam Taylor, experienced chef, South African food blogger and lover of food.





5.0 from 4 reviews
Beef Stew with Gremolata
Serves: 6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Beef stew
  • 500 ml (2 C) prepared beef stock
  • 10 ml (2 t) mustard
  • 440 ml (1¾ C) draught beer
  • 200 g bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 ml (1 t) herbs de Provence
  • 2.5 ml (½ t) nutmeg
  • 2.5 ml (½ t) ground cumin
  • 1 kg beef stew, cut into even sized pieces
  • 30 ml (2 T) cake flour
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 45 ml (3 T) butter
  • 250 g Portabellini mushrooms
  • zest of 1 lemon grated
  • 80 ml (⅓ C) chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  1. Bring the beef stock, mustard and beer to the boil, remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Heat a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan.
  3. Add the bacon and for a few minutes until the bacon begins to cook.
  4. Add the onions to the pan and fry until the onions begin to soften.
  5. Stir in the herbs de Provence and the spices.
  6. Add the meat and toss well in the pan such that the meat is coated in the bacon fat and spices.
  7. Stir in the flour.
  8. Add the hot stock and stir to mix.
  9. Bring the stew to the boil and season well.
  10. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 2-3 hours or until the meat is tender. Alternatively, transfer to a Wonderbag or slow cooker and cook until the meat is tender.
  11. Heat the butter in a frying pan.
  12. Add the mushrooms and toss to cook for a few minutes until just tender.
  13. Season the mushrooms with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  14. Add the mushrooms to the stew.
  15. To make the gremolata, simply mix together the lemon zest, chopped parsley and the crushed garlic.
  16. Serve the beef stew hot with the gremolata sprinkled over the top.


13 Comments on Beef Stew with Gremolata

  1. Anina
    May 25, 2016 at 3:47 pm (3 years ago)

    Yup. I do the same, buy in bulk and try to whip out mouthwatering stews and curries enough for the fam and the mans lunchbox the next day. Planning is key, even if our budgets are screwed… Lovely recipe!

    • sam
      May 25, 2016 at 3:54 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Anina. I sometimes feel like planning takes the spontaneity and fun out of cooking. But, I am learning to adult and plan properly. Your husband certainly married well.

  2. Tami
    May 25, 2016 at 4:07 pm (3 years ago)

    We have been on the road for 6 weeks and I can’t even tell you how hard it is to shop. You can’t save on bulk buys because there is no space to store anything, you’re without a fridge for 4 hours every 3 days (between the time to check out of one place and check into another) and you don’t always have access to the cheaper shops in very small towns 😭

    • sam
      May 25, 2016 at 4:14 pm (3 years ago)

      Wow Tami, I never thought about that aspect of your trip before. I think buying bulk for things that cannot be frozen is only a good buy if you have capacity to use it all before it goes to waste. You will definitely be able to share some valuable cost saving tips and recipes after this trip I am sure.

  3. ev@shadesofcinnamon
    May 25, 2016 at 4:11 pm (3 years ago)

    This stew looks delicious and perfect for the weather at the moment. So very true Sam, the cost of food is getting completely out of hand. My way of saving is buying more consciously, that is not wasting as much, and making at least one meal a week vegetarian.

    • sam
      May 25, 2016 at 4:19 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you Ev. I think we are all feeling the effects of the outrageous prices. I agree that buying only what we need in terms of fresh goods so that we don’t waste any is an excellent first step. Please share some of your vegetarian recipes, I would love to try them.

  4. Tandy | Lavender and Lime
    May 26, 2016 at 10:27 am (3 years ago)

    It has become ridiculous to buy meat if you don’t find specials. We bought venison and it worked out at R30 a meal for 10 meals and we have a selection from prime cuts to wors. great recipe Sam xxx

    • sam
      May 26, 2016 at 11:11 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Tandy. Venison is a great idea. I used to work on a game farm and the recipes that we cooked out in the bush over the open coals were some of the finest I have ever had. I must dust off some of my old notebooks.

  5. Jeanne Horak-Druiff
    May 29, 2016 at 2:30 pm (3 years ago)

    Sjoe – I hear you. Every time I come home for a visit I am appalled at the prices of food. Restaurant meals still seem relatively reasonable but supermarket prices are on a par with London. It’s mad! EVen here in the UK, prices have gone up – well, prices of good fresh food have gone up while prices of nutritionally empty junk continue to be the cheapest. It’s very depressing. I stretch meat meals by bulking up with veg e.g. in stews and curries – so I make a little mince go a long way in chilli by adding a lot of beans and tomatoes. Love the look of this stew and I am a huge fan of gremolata to lift the flavours 🙂

    • sam
      May 30, 2016 at 8:38 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Jeanne. We were chatting just this week at how an unhealthy fast food meals will become more affordable than trying to cook fresh and from scratch. It makes absolutely no sense at all. Thanks for stopping by. Sam

  6. di@bibbyskitchen
    May 30, 2016 at 8:18 pm (3 years ago)

    Hearty and delicious Sam. Just the kind of food you want to come home to on a wintery night. Glad to hear I’m not the only one living in the store! Quite honestly I don’t know who’s eating all the food.

    • sam
      May 31, 2016 at 5:09 pm (3 years ago)

      Yes! Who eats all the food Di? Who?

  7. Kit
    June 7, 2016 at 5:39 pm (3 years ago)

    I’m like you, a last minute supper fiend, but I do love stews and the kids were asking for one the other day, so I started cooking your recipe early this afternoon and it’s smelling good now! As you say it makes me feel very Martha Stewart having dinner already sorted, bar the odd potato. Talking about potatoes, they used to be my cheap and cheerful fallback position but they cost a fortune these days. Our budget saver is having a vegetable garden to pick from and a garage full of onions from last spring (sprouting now but still good enough to use). I’m finding that the things that have gone up most alarmingly in price are the vegetables even in season. We were already going easy on the meat, so it’s hard to find ways to cut costs further, but the veggie garden makes a huge difference.


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