Easy Mulligan Stew
Easy Mulligan Stew is a classic recipe made with whatever you happen to have in the kitchen. Also known as, Hobo Stew or Community Stew, it’s slow simmered flavor is stick-to-your-ribs comfort food that’s great for cleaning out the fridge.
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If you’re a fan of comfort meals, this one is for you. This easy Mulligan Stew is the one beef stew recipe that totally reminds me of my childhood. Hearty, rich and not overly complicated in the flavor department. Just simple beef stew using what you have in your kitchen right now.
We’re doing a pretty good job of using up the ingredients we currently have on hand. Grocery prices have gone up, we’re eating all day long at home and food shortages are rumored to be on the horizon. I’m working on recipes that you can make with pantry staples and leftovers so we’re wasting as little as possible.
This Mulligan Stew recipe is as simple as it gets. You can use up all the remaining frozen vegetables, fresh vegetables and freezer meat you have in the fridge at the end of the week….there are no rules here. And you can spice it up with whatever you have in the spice cabinet to make it your own.
I’m just providing the most basic beef stew recipe for you to build off of, more of a tutorial in how to make a classic beef stew using some simple techniques to build maximum flavor with what you have on hand.
If you’re not familiar with Mulligan Stew, it’s a stew that’s commonly called Hobo Stew or Community Stew in the US. American hobos back in the early 1900’s used to make this stew in camps to feed their neighbors. The homeless used to pull together all their collected food to create one big stew they could all share.
That’s how the stew originated and how we can learn to use up our leftover ingredients from previous meals earlier in the week.
Ingredients in Mulligan Stew
Nowadays, this recipe is made most often with beef. Mulligan is also the term for “Irishman” so the stew takes a few queues from a traditional Irish stew in flavor and ingredients.
This stew recipe, in particular, is made with beef, potatoes and a variety of vegetables like carrots, onions, green beans and peas. Again, you can add whatever ingredients you have in your kitchen the day you’re pulling this together.
Sometimes I like to add Lima Beans and corn, other days, it may be leftover asparagus or cauliflower in place of the potatoes.
If you don’t have beef, you can even make your Mulligan Stew with chicken or lamb.
How To Make It
This easy beef stew couldn’t be simpler to make.
Simply start with a good quality chuck roast, if you can find one. Otherwise, any type of stew meat will work for this recipe.
Cut your roast into bite sized pieces and toss in the cornstarch to coat.
Heat a heavy bottom stock pot or deep dutch oven with a bit of oil over medium high heat. (This is the dutch oven I have and use for almost everything.) Add the meat to the pan and sear until golden on all sides. Transfer to a bowl and drain off all but two tablespoons fat.
Return the pan to the heat and add the onions, celery and carrots to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes until beginning to caramelize. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
Add the tomato paste stirring to coat. Cook until the tomato paste is caramelized and a deep Burgundy color. This will add TONS of flavor to your stew later on.
Add the seasonings and beef stock. Stir in the frozen vegetables, potatoes and return the meat to the pot. Cover and transfer to the oven for 1 hour.
Alternatively, you can cook this stew on the stovetop over low heat for 1 hour and up to 2 hours.
Tips for Perfect Beef Stew
- Be sure to buy a good quality roast that’s good for long braising techniques like chuck roast, bottom round roast, rump roast or shoulder.
- Potatoes matter….make sure you use a good, sturdy, waxy potato like Yukon Gold or red potatoes since they’ll hold together well in the stew. Russet potatoes will fall apart and become mushy in the stew.
- Don’t skip the step of coating your beef in flour or cornstarch before browning. The flour and cornstarch act as a thickening agent when the stew cooks. Skipping this step will leave you with a very loose, broth-y stew.
- Give your tomato paste time to caramelize, you will be rewarded with great flavor if you’re patient.
- If you have wine lying around, you can deglaze the pan with up to 1/2 cup after the tomato paste is caramelized. Scrape up all those brown bits with a wooden spoon for extra flavor. I’m sure the hobos did this, too. 🙂
You could even serve it with these easy Two Ingredient Biscuits for dipping!
Get the Recipe: Easy Mulligan Stew Recipe
- 1 1/2 lb stew meat, or chuck roast cut into 1 inch cubes
- 3 tbsp flour or cornstarch
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
- 3 cups beef stock
- 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1 cup frozen green beans, thawed
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1/2 cup frozen lima beans, thawed
- 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, large diced
- dutch oven
- Toss the stew meat in the cornstach, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed stock pot over medium high heat.
- Add the stew meat to the pot and cook until browned on all sides. Be sure not to crowd the pan and work in batches, if necessary. Transfer the stew meat to a large bowl using a slotted spoon and pour off all but two tablespoons fat.
- Return the pot to the heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot to the pot. Cook until beginning to caramelize and slightly soften.
- Stir in the garlic cooking for 1 minute longer. Add the tomato paste to the pot and stir to coat. Cook the tomato paste until caramelized, approximately 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
- Add the onion powder, garlic powder, italian seasoning and beef stock to the pot scraping up the brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Stir to combine.
- Bring the stew to a boil. Add the corn, green beans, peas, lima beans and potatoes (or whatever other vegetables you're adding to the mix). Return the beef to the stew and stir to combine.
- Cover the stew with a tight fitting lid and cook for 1 hour on the stovetop OR transfer to a 350˚F oven, cooking for 1 hour.
- Serve immediately.