Beef and Turnip Stew with Red Russian Kale

I first made this beef stew last year. This simple and delicious stew is very forgiving and flexible. The original recipe came form Williams Sonoma Soup of the Day cookbook. It was featured as their October 14th recipe. I say this recipe is forgiving because it specifically calls for “1 bunch of turnips with their greens still attached”. I don’t know about you but I don’t know the last time I saw a “bunch” of turnips. What I love is that you can use any root veggie you want. Heck, you could do a medley.

The recipe also talks about young turnips are best as they have a softer and sweeter flavor as where the older bigger turnips are more woody. My fix for this was to buy the smallest turnips I could (which were still big) and to buy kale. It also meant my turnip processing had to change and the cook time had to change but in the end I still ended up with a delicious stew that is perfect for winter when beef is my focus.

For this recipe you will need:

  • 2 ounces Olive Oil
  • 1-2 Yellow Onions (depending on how big they are, I used one that was about the size of a softball), diced
  • 2 ounces Bacon or Pancetta (I’ll be honest here. I buy a pack of diced pancetta that is 5 ounces and I threw the whole thing in because I don’t believe there’s such a things as too much bacon!)
  • 3 pound Chuck Roast, cut into bite sized pieces (You can use other types of meat, in the past I have used bison which was amazing. You can also use various cuts but I would recommend sticking with a roast as you’ll have a much tastier stew than if you just used “stew meat”.)
  • 1 ½ ounces All-purpose Flour
  • 4 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6 stems Parsley, 2 stems Thyme, and 2 Bay Leaves (Again, honestly check… I just grab some parsley, about a third the volume of thyme, and a few bay leaves… I never count them), bundle them up and tie them together with kitchen twine. You’ll need to be able to remove them later.
  • 12 ounces Dry Red Wine, a Malbec from Argentina is quite nice for beef stews
  • 24 ounces Beef Stock, I can’t stress enough how much homemade makes a difference in recipes where it’s the base and majority of the volume
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 2 pounds Turnips, topped and tailed and then cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 bunch of Kale, I like Red Russian for this recipe, roughly chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

So, I am guessing you think this is already a lot of work but trust me it goes together very quickly.


First you’re going to warm the oil in a large pot over medium heat. I used a 6 quart dutch oven. Then add the onion and pancetta. Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Brown your beef in batches just till it has color on all sides. Don’t over crowd your pan as it will slow the browning and steam your beef rather than searing it. Remove the beef with the slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Once all the beef has been browned add all the beef back to the pot. Sprinkle the flour all over the beef and stir for about a minute to ensure all the beef is well coated and the “raw” flavor has been cooked off.

Add the onion mixture back to the pot as well as the garlic and give it another good stir. Then add your herbs kinda pushing them deep into the meat mixture. Add the wine. Cook until the wine has thickened into a syrup consistency and reduced by about 25%. Stir while its reducing and try to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan as much as possible. Add the tomato paste and the stock giving it one last good stir. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 1 ½ hours.

Add the kale and the turnips, cover, and simmer for another 30 minutes.Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.


This stew is better the longer it sits and freezes really well. Make a big batch and then put it into freezer safe containers in individual portions. Re-heat in the microwave for an easy lunch at work or no fuss dinner! This recipe made 8 servings that we’re about 12-13 ounces each.

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