Common spices in beef stew include parsley, bay leaves, thyme, black pepper and salt. Recipes may include varying amounts to meet taste preferences and dietary needs.
Beef stew is a versatile dish that can include a wide variety of secondary ingredients. Vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and celery are frequently part of the mix, along with chopped onions and minced garlic. Chicken stock or beef broth can take the place of plain water to provide a robust flavor. Many cooks use freshly picked culinary herbs from their gardens or local farmers markets. Options for cooking beef stew include heavy saucepans on the stove top, Dutch ovens over a camp fire, and slow cookers on the counter top.