With cozy season in full swing, there are just a few things you need—a thick blanket (check), a stocked Netflix queue (double check), and a steaming bowl of something comforting and beefy (don’t worry, we got you on this one). Whether you’re seeking out a new go-to carryout option or looking to whip something up in the kitchen at home , these soups and stews are a great place to start. Not only do they showcase a wide world of flavors, but they’re affordable and often come in generous portions, meaning you can split an order with your BBFFL (Best Beef Friend for Life) or even better, freeze the extras for leftovers – because let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to spend less time deciding what to do for dinner and more time getting right to what’s important (eating that beef)?
1. Pho Bo
Where it’s from: Vietnam
What’s in it: You’ll find pho, Vietnam’s traditional noodle soup, with all kinds of meats, but pho bo is the one to try. It comes with thin slices of eye of round or sirloin served in a beefy broth that’s loaded with rice noodles, ginger, onions, and spices like star anise and cloves. The best part (besides slurping it all up, of course), is all the accouterments that come with it. You can use the lime, cilantro, Thai basil, Sriracha, and hoisin sauce to doctor up your pho and make it as spicy, tangy, herby, or umami-loaded as you want. Our advice? Add a little of everything to start, then adjust to your taste.
2. Beef Noodle Soup
Where it’s from: Taiwan
What’s in it: This fiery soup brings the heat with tender chunks of braised beef (like shank or short ribs), noodles, bok choy, and a tangy pickled element (like mustard greens or cabbage) in a broth seasoned with doubanjiang, a spicy bean paste. The doubanjiang plus loads of garlic, onions, and dried chiles make this an absolute sinus-blaster, so reach for a bowl when you’re facing a winter cold or want to impress your friends with a complex bowl of goodness.
3. Boeuf Bourguignon
Where it’s from: France
What’s in it: Beef, beef, beef. This classic French stew is somehow both hearty and elegant, and features loads of beef that’s been braised in red wine and beef stock. It’s decked out with pearl onions, sauteed mushrooms, and bacon to give it a little smokiness. We have icon Julia Child to thank for a doable at-home recipe—it’s a large batch that’s a total show-stopper when you bring it out for a dinner party or when you casually show it off to your coworkers during your lunchtime Zoom meetings.
Where it’s from: Hungary
What’s in it: If you love the mild and fruity sweetness that Hungarian paprika brings to dishes, this national favorite stew should be your new go-to. Chunks of chuck roast are cooked with peppers, onions, garlic, root veggies, caraway seeds, and loads of paprika (plus some sour cream if you like a creamy element). Goulash is usually served over buttered egg noodles, but you can ladle it over rice, baked potatoes, or pretty much anything else you can dig out of your fridge (within reason—those cold slices of pizza are probably not the ideal vehicle, but we’re not here to judge).
Where it’s from: The Philippines
What’s in it: This festive Filipino dish will have you wishing every day was a party (and it can be if you make this stew!) It’s loaded with cubes of beef (chuck or bottom round are good choices here) cooked in a spicy tomato sauce with veggies like carrots, potatoes, and onions. Here’s where it gets extra fun—in some parts of the Philippines, cooks add peanut butter for a burst of nutty flavor, while others use liver spread or cheese to help thicken the sauce. No two will taste exactly the same, so it’s perfect for anyone who loves to seek out something special and unique (that’s you, obviously).
6. Ropa Vieja
Where it’s from: Cuba
What’s in it: Recipes for this saucy stew (yes, its name translates to “old clothes,” but no, it does not taste like them in the slightest) can vary by household or restaurant, or even where in the Caribbean you find it. But in Cuba, it’s typically made with shredded flank steak that’s braised in a tomato sauce with onions, peppers, and garlic, along with seasonings like oregano, parsley, and cumin. If you’re whipping it up at home, you can cook the beef and shred it a day in advance. The rest comes together super quickly, making this a great weeknight or meal prep option.
These six beef-filled comfort dishes are guaranteed to warm up your cold winter days and travel the world without having to leave the comfort of your own kitchen. For more feel-good recipes, head to our recipes page.