Anchovies Are The Unexpected Ingredient For Better Beef Stew

There's nothing better than putting beef and some stock in a pot for it to simmer away until it cooks down into the most comforting dish. Whether you like to bulk it up with bulgur or add a dollop of tomato paste, beef stew is the perfect salve for long days. But for the most delicious pot of beef stew, anchovies are your secret weapon.

Adding seafood to beef stew already seems like a strange notion, and putting one of the fishiest kinds sounds like it would absolutely ruin the dish. Yet, we assure you, your beef stew craves anchovies. The fish is known for its mouthwatering, umami flavor, so you should definitely start putting anchovies in more recipes. Chances are, something you've eaten already contains it. That savory taste in Worcestershire sauce, a common beef stew ingredient? Yep, that's anchovies. It's even in modern Caesar salads and Spaghetti alla Puttanesca, both of which have a richness that can only be attributed to the fish.

That little fish contains a salty taste that easily amps up beef stew without leaving it with a fishy flavor. Oil-packed anchovies are quite common and they can go straight into the beef stew with ease. Take one filet and cook it down with the onions and garlic to build a luscious base for the stew. The paste is also easy to find and has a concentrated flavor. Swirl half a teaspoon into the stew as it starts to simmer for a rich flavor throughout.

What kinds of beef stew can you add anchovies to?

To really bring out the depth of anchovies, pair it with flavors that are bright and equally rich. Tomatoes are an easy match for anchovies — the ingredient brightens beef stew and has a sweetness that anchovies will love. Slow-braised oxtail stew is filled with luscious tomatoes that won't compete with anchovies' full-bodied taste. When cooking down the celery and carrots, that's the perfect time to add a filet or two of anchovies to build the base.

For a deeper tomato flavor to pair with the anchovies, harissa beef pot roast is the perfect dish. The harissa brings a smoky nuance that's quickly lightened with a bright punch of lemon. The combination of lemon and anchovies gives the dish a warm, summery feel that can brighten your day any time of the year.

Cinnamon apple cider beef stew is also a little tart, but the cinnamon gives it a much more grounded flavor. With the addition of anchovies, this spiced stew becomes more full-bodied and vivid in flavor. A swirl of anchovy paste as the liquid simmers down is just the thing this stew needs.