This Turkish style ground beef stew is hearty and perfect for a weeknight dinner. Packed with vegetables and spices, this stew can be served on its own or with some rice on the side.
Warm and hearty stew recipes are staples of our weekly meal plans. Dishes like chicken stew, beef stew or zucchini stew are easy to make and can easily feed a crowd. One of my favorite stews to make is this Turkish ground beef stew that I learned from a friend back in Istanbul. Read along to learn how to make this easy and comforting stew with just a few ingredients, even if you're short on time!
Table Of Contents:
Ground beef stew, Turkish style
Turkish cuisine is versatile and offers many different types of dishes. Sulu yemekler, translated to "watery dishes," is what dishes such as stews are called in Turkish. A combination of vegetables and sometimes chicken or beef, these stews are hearty and so satisfying.
This ground beef and peas stew, called kıymalı bezelye, is a classic Turkish dish made with a handful of ingredients. It's easy to make and you can make a big batch to enjoy through the week.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Olive oil: Like many other Mediterranean recipes, this one works best using extra virgin olive oil.
- Onion and garlic: This would be the base of the stew. Use white or yellow onions. It's best to avoid using jarred minced garlic or garlic powder.
- Ground beef: Use lean ground beef to avoid having a greasy stew. 93% lean beef works best.
- Carrots: Cut the carrots into chunks and make sure they're not too small.
- Potatoes: Russet potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes would work for this stew. Make sure they are cut into similar-sized chunks so they cook evenly.
- Tomato paste: To add color and flavor, it cannot be substituted with fresh tomatoes or tomato sauce.
- Spices: You'll need a combination of salt, pepper, oregano, cumin and paprika.
- Peas: It's best to use frozen peas for this recipe. Canned peas could get too mushy.
How to make ground beef stew
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or a pot over medium heat. Saute the onion until translucent. Add in the garlic and saute for a couple of minutes.
- Brown the ground beef with the onion and garlic. Add the potatoes and carrots, then stir in the tomato paste and spices.
- Add the frozen peas and water or vegetable stock. Turn the heat to medium high and bring the stew to a simmer. Then turn the heat down to medium and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for 40 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
- Turn the heat off and let the stew sit covered for 20 minutes for the flavors to settle.
While the original version of this ground beef stew with peas is absolutely fulfilling and delicious, I've thought of other ways to make this dish even more delicious:
- Add vegetables such as cauliflower or zucchini to the stew.
- Make this dish heartier by adding cooked chickpeas.
- Use ground lamb instead of ground beef.
Ground beef stew can be served on its own as a meal. You can also serve it with rice pilaf or brown rice as well as pita bread, lavash or Turkish pide bread. Turn it into a complete meal with a side of gavurdagi salad (Turkish tomato salad), Mediterranean salad or cucumber tomato fete salad.
Storage and reheating
Store the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To reheat, transfer the leftovers into a saucepan or a small pot and place over medium heat. Stir occasionally so it reheats evenly.
How to freeze ground beef stew
This stew freezes really well, so you can make a large batch and freeze it for later. Once the stew has cooled completely, transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
To serve, thaw the frozen stew in the fridge overnight and then reheat in a saucepan over medium heat.
Frequently asked questions
The most important tip to the perfect ground beef stew is to let the stew rest for 20 to 30 minutes before serving. This will allow the flavors to combine and settle.
Yes, you can leave out the potatoes and/or use another kind of vegetable instead.
Unfortunately no. Using ground chicken would change the texture and flavor of this stew.
YEs, you can use vegetable stock instead of water to make this ground beef stew.
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Ground Beef Stew, Turkish Style
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lb ground beef 93% lean
- 2 carrots sliced into thick pieces
- 2 russet potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 ½ cup frozen peas
- 4 cups vegetable stock or water
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or a pot over medium heat. Saute the onion until translucent, about 7 minutes.
- Add in the minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add in the ground beef and saute brown.
- Next, add the carrots and potatoes. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin and paprika. Add the frozen peas and the stock or water.
- Turn the heat up to medium high. Bring the stew to a simmer. Turn the heat down to medium and cover with a lid. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Turn the heat off. Let the stew sit covered for 20 minutes before serving.
- You can serve this dish with rice pilaf, brown rice, lavash, pita or pide bread.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- To freeze, transfer the cooled ground beef stew to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in a saucepan over medium heat.