For A Sweeter Beef Stew, Apple Cider And Cinnamon Lead The Way

When the air of the season grows chillier, we hastily begin blowing the dust off our favorite winter recipes. Pages of ingredients detail brimming soups, comforting grilled cheese sandwiches, and warming casseroles, all extending an inviting embrace. However, no matter how cozy and toasty a wintertime dish may sound, few can hold a candle to beef stew. When we think of beef stew, we're reminded of tender, juicy beef marrying with earthy notes of savory herbs, while flavorful carrots and hearty potatoes whisk away the frigid winter cold.

Thanks to Tasting Table recipe developer Michelle McGlinn, we can now enjoy a sweeter take on the beloved classic with her cinnamon apple cider beef stew recipe. McGlinn's version of beef stew throws in two new — yet very essential — ingredients to amp up the sweetness: apple cider and a cinnamon stick. While both pack a punch of serious depth and flavor, apple cider plays the crucial role of tenderizing the beef for a melt-in-your-mouth consistency. Furthermore, tangy, fresh cranberries offer an additional layer of balanced sweetness to the savory components.

Variations of cinnamon apple cider beef stew

To make this recipe your own, numerous substitutions might be worth trying. If cranberries are too tart for your liking, try swapping them out for sliced or cubed pieces of apple (or use both). This rendition will produce a flavor profile similar to classic baked apples, albeit less sweet. Plus, it brings forward the notes of the cider in conjunction with the cinnamon. 

You could even try making this recipe with homemade apple cider, which allows you to incorporate mouthwatering add-ins. For example, infuse homemade cider with warming spices like cloves, nutmeg, and allspice to enhance the savory notes in your stew, or citrus like orange and lemon zest to brighten the dish. 

For serious cinnamon lovers, you may want to add more than one cinnamon stick to your cinnamon apple cider beef stew. You can even opt for ground cinnamon instead, as it gives you more control over how much spice you can taste in every bite; use less for a delicate background note or more for a fuller explosion of cinnamon flavor.