This hearty Hawaiian Beef Stew is loaded with tender beef chunks, carrots, celery, potatoes, and an incredible flavor!
My simple stew is the ideal comfort food dish to enjoy during the cold winter months, or simply because it is completely addictive!
Soups and stews are a family favorite in my house and are enjoyed more than I can describe.
Nothing makes my friends and family happier than having leftover stew for lunch during the week.
WHAT IS HAWAIIAN BEEF STEW?
Hawaiian beef stew is a popular stew recipe on the Hawaiian islands.
It has mainland influences, such as the ‘beef stew’ flavor, as well as East Asian flavors that permeate Hawaiian cuisine!
In the case of this Hawaiian-style beef stew, the soy sauce adds a touch of the islands.
Even more so if you happen to be shopping at a store that sells the most incredible brand of soy sauce. Original Blend Hawaiian Shoyu Soy Sauce by Aloha!
The flavor variations in this popular stew recipe are noticeable throughout Hawaii.
A dash of Worcestershire sauce here and there, a sweeter stew, or using stewed tomatoes in addition to the tomato paste are all common variations.
Also, when visiting the Hawaiian Islands, this ‘Hawaiian Beef Stew’ is more commonly known as local beef stew or local style beef stew.
HAWAIIAN BEEF STEW VERSUS REGULAR BEEF STEW
What is the distinction between our local Hawaii beef stew and mainland beef stew? Here are a few examples:
- Tomatoes – The Hawaii version contains a lot of tomatoes (in the form of tomato paste and canned whole peeled tomatoes). There is no tomato in mainland beef stew (or very little, in the form of tomato paste).
- Sweetness – The Hawaii version is a tad sweeter (because of the tomatoes). Because local tastes tend to be a little sweeter, this is simply a better fit for our taste buds.
- Color – The Hawaii version is more red. The Mainland version is darker and more brown in color (due to the addition of red wine and/or beef stock).
- Seasoning – Bay leaf is used in the Hawaiian version. The Mainland version frequently includes additional ingredients such as bay leaves, thyme, paprika, and even Worcestershire sauce.
- Rice! – In Hawaii, beef stew is always served over rice. The Mainland version is typically consumed with bread.
Prepare your stew meat and vegetables, grab a large soup pot or Dutch oven, and prepare to enjoy this delectable meal!
- Heat your cooking oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When you’re ready to add the meat, the oil should be shimmering.
- Cook until all sides of the cubed chuck roast or beef stew meat are seared or browned. Once the meat has been browned, reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic, sautéing for 2 – 3 minutes, or until fragrant and softened.
- Pour in the red wine (or use beef broth or beef stock) to deglaze the pan. This liquid should be used to scrape all of the cooked bits (also known as ‘fond’) from the bottom of the pot; this is what makes a gravy spectacular! Stir for 2 – 3 minutes, or until the bottom of the pot is mostly clear.
- Then, along with the tomato paste, add the chopped carrots and celery. Stir constantly; you want the tomato paste to brown a little before adding the broth. *Do add a splash of broth if you think you’re on the verge of burning the paste!
- Add the beef broth and soy sauce, followed by the diced potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and top with a bay leaf. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Reduce the heat, stir, and bring the soup to a simmer once it reaches a boil. Cook, covered, at a low heat for 1 hour and 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Finally, after the soup has simmered and cooked for a few minutes, remove the bay leaf, taste, and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
- Serve and have fun!
WHY TOMATO PASTE AND WHOLE TOMATOES?
This dish calls for tomato paste as well as a can of whole peeled tomatoes. Why not both? They both contribute tomato flavors, but in different ways.
You begin by adding the tomato paste and sautéing it (along with the onions) until the tomato paste turns a deep, brick red color.
This results in a richer, almost caramelized tomato flavor in the finished dish. It adds depth and complication (with very little effort).
A large 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes is called for in the recipe.
The “saucy” part of this stew is made up of tomatoes (plus the juices in the can). Don’t worry about chopping the tomatoes; they will naturally break down during the two-hour simmering period.
If you don’t plan on eating all of your Hawaiian beef right away, you can keep leftovers in the fridge for up to three days. This reheats well, so save any leftovers for quick lunches or dinners.
This, along with chicken curry and beef and broccoli, is one of my favorite recipes for lunch leftovers.
When it comes to freezing, you’ll notice that it doesn’t thaw well. The vegetables will become very soft and mushy.
TIPS & RECIPE NOTES
- To thicken the stew, make a slurry with 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and 2 tablespoons cold water or beef broth. Whisk the slurry into the stew until smooth.
- Hawaiian beef stew is typically thick and served with sticky rice. If you prefer a thinner soup consistency over this thicker stew, simply add more broth and taste as you go!
Frequently Asked Questions
Chuck meat is the best choice for beef stew, but it’s also a tough cut that requires time to break down and become tender. If you rush the cooking time, the beef will be tough and chewy. Follow this tip: Cook the stew low and slow for about two hours to get really tender meat.
For extra savory (or umami) flavor, try adding soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce, a touch of honey or brown sugar for sweetness, lemon zest or vinegar for brightness, or chili powder or smoked paprika for spice and depth.
A medium-thick, viscous stew can be made with one tablespoon cornstarch per cup of liquid. In a small bowl, combine equal parts cold water and cornstarch and whisk thoroughly to combine.
Waxy potatoes, also known as boiling potatoes, hold up well in soups and stews. These have thin skin, a high moisture content, and a low starch content. Low-starch, high-moisture potatoes hold together better. Yukon Gold potatoes have a medium starch content and hold their shape well in soups.