Mississippi beef with white cheddar orzo is what comfort food dreams are made of. The stew comes together with just five ingredients and the oven does the rest. Pair with cheesy orzo for a hearty meal the whole family is sure to love.
If you love Mississippi pot roast, you will love this dish. The beef is seasoned with onion soup mix, ranch dressing mix, and pepperoncini peppers for a deep, rich flavor.
Let the oven do the work. With minimal prep, the beef cooks low and slow to achieve a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
I love to serve this stew with white cheddar orzo. The orzo is cooked slowly to yield a creamy risotto-like consistency. And white cheddar amps up the flavor even more.
When you're craving cozy, warm-your-soul food, this Mississippi beef is a must-make.
- Beef stew meat is beef chuck that has been cut into chunks and packaged for use in chili, beef stew, etc. It's readily available in most supermarkets. Alternatively, use chuck roast and cut the meat into 1-inch cubes, removing any visible excess fat.
- Onion soup mix - I used Lipton onion soup mix. If you want to make your own, try this recipe for homemade onion soup mix.
- Ranch dressing mix - I used store-bought for convenience, but you can also make your own homemade ranch dressing mix.
- Pepperoncini peppers - These slightly sweet chili peppers are mild and much less spicy than jalapeños. They are typically sold pickled. These peppers, along with their juice, add a wonderful tangy flavor to the beef. Banana peppers can also be used.
White Cheddar Orzo
- White cheddar cheese - Use freshly shredded cheese for the best melting quality. Monterey Jack, Fontina, and Gruyere are also great options.
- Heavy cream lends an ultra-creamy consistency to the orzo. Whole milk can also be used.
- Chicken broth - instead of water - adds an extra layer of flavor. I prefer using low-sodium broth, especially since the beef mixture contains a fair amount of salt. Vegetable broth can also be used.
See the recipe card for complete instructions and ingredient amounts.
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add half of the meat and cook until brown. The beef won't be fully cooked at this point. We're just searing the outside. Transfer the meat to a plate. Add more oil and repeat with the remaining meat. (Image 1)
- Transfer all of the meat back to the pan. Add the soup mix, ranch dressing mix, pepperoncini and juice, and beef broth. (Image 2)
- Cover the pan and transfer to a 325-degree oven for one hour.
- Check the meat - it should be fork-tender. If not, bake in 15-minute intervals until it shreds easily with a fork. Then, put the pot, uncovered, back in the oven for 10-15 minutes to reduce the sauce slightly.
- Meanwhile, cook the orzo. Add oil to a non-stick pan set over medium heat. Add the orzo and cook for 1-2 minutes to toast slightly. (Image 3)
- Add the chicken broth and stir. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes until the orzo is tender and has absorbed most of the broth. (Image 4)
- Turn off the heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Add the heavy cream, starting with 2 tablespoons, adding more as necessary to achieve a creamy consistency. Season to taste with black pepper. (Image 5)
- For an alternative to orzo, serve with mashed potatoes, buttered noodles, or roasted potatoes.
- Pair with salad such as a garden salad or seven-layer salad.
- Pair with a vegetable like green beans or roasted honey thyme carrots
- As a sandwich - pile the shredded meat on toasted rolls. Dip in the cooking liquid, french dip-style.
- To control the amount of salt, use homemade onion soup mix and ranch dressing mix. The store-bought varieties are convenient and easy to use but they do contain a high amount of sodium. Low-sodium chicken and beef broth also help to control the amount of salt.
- Cut the beef into uniformly sized pieces to ensure even cooking.
- Store beef and orzo leftovers separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
The seasonings provide a great depth of flavor. Onion soup mix and ranch dressing mix provide layers of flavor and the pepperoncini add tang and acidity which cuts through the richness of the beef.
Beef stew, like pot roast, is best cooked low and slow until the meat is tender and easily shreds apart with a fork. If the meat seems tough, it simply needs to cook longer.
Mississippi Beef Stew with White Cheddar Orzo
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds beef stewing meat (or chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces)
- black pepper (for seasoning)
- 1 packet onion soup mix (Note 1)
- 1 packet ranch dressing mix (Note 1)
- ½ cup sliced pepperoncini peppers (or 5-6 whole pepperoncini)
- ¼ cup pepperoncini pepper juice
- 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 16 ounces orzo (uncooked)
- 32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 4 ounces white cheddar cheese (shredded)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add half of the beef in an even layer. Season with black pepper. Cook until brown on both sides, about 4-5 minutes.
- Transfer the beef to a plate and add another tablespoon of olive oil. Add the remaining beef and season with black pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes until brown.
- Add the first batch of beef back to the pan. Add the onion soup mix, ranch dressing mix, pepperoncini peppers and juice, and beef broth. Stir and cover. Transfer to the oven and bake for 1 hour.
- After one hour, the beef should be fall-apart tender. If it isn't, cook in 15-minute intervals until the meat shreds easily with a fork. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, uncovered, to reduce the cooking liquid slightly.
- Serve with orzo.
White cheddar orzo
- About 20-25 minutes before the beef is finished, prepare the orzo.
- Add 2 teaspoons of oil to a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the orzo and cook for 1-2 minutes to toast the orzo.
- Add the chicken broth, stir, and cover. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes until the orzo is tender and the broth is mostly absorbed.
- Turn the heat off and stir in the shredded cheese. Add the heavy cream, starting with 2 tablespoons, and stir to create a creamy consistency. Add more cream as necessary to reach the desired creaminess. Serve.
- Store leftover beef and orzo separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
- To control the amount of sodium in the dish, use homemade onion soup mix and homemade ranch dressing mix. See notes in the post above.
- Cut the beef into uniform pieces to ensure even cooking.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.