Ina Garten Has a Secret Trick to Make Beef Stew *Actually* Taste Good

It's anything but boring

Ina Garten
Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images

We’re not ashamed to admit that we hang on Ina Garten’s every word. When she says use “good vanilla,” we drain our savings account. When she says, “jump,” we say, “how high?” So naturally we’re following her advice for making one often mediocre food—beef stew—absolutely delicious.

“I usually find beef stew boring,” Garten shared in a recent Instagram, “so I made my own version and ramped up the flavor!”

What’s the secret, Ina? “Full-bodied red wine and cognac give the sauce an extra edge. I used boneless short ribs, which get very tender as they cook, instead of the usual chuck. It’s the ultimate comfort food.”

Red wine is a typical ingredient in beef stew, but cognac (a type of brandy) adds extra depth of flavor. Garten uses both to deglaze the pan, aka scrape up the browned bits after searing the meat.

And about that meat: The Contessa’s choice to use boneless short ribs in place of chuck roast doesn’t just make for a tastier stew, it also saves on cooking time. Chuck contains more connective tissue, so it takes longer to cook and has a tendency to be tough. Short ribs are just as flavorful but more tender in less cooking time.

Ina, just say the word and we’re coming over for dinner.

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Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...