How to Stew
Definition of Stewing
A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables (such as carrots, potatoes, beans, peppers and tomatoes, etc.), meat, especially tougher meats suitable for slow-cooking, such as beef. Poultry, sausages, and seafood are also used. While water can be used as the stew-cooking liquid, wine, stock, and beer are also common. Seasoning and flavourings may also be added. Stews are typically cooked at a relatively low temperature (simmered, not boiled), allowing flavors to mingle.
Best Meat to Stew
What you want is the tough, lean cuts. These don't have as much fat, but they do have something called collagen. Connective tissue. This breaks down over long cooking, rendering the meat fork tender and oh-so-tasty. In fact, if you're making a stew and the meat still seems chewy, just let it simmer for a little longer. Keep checking it every 15 minutes or so, and eventually it will hit that magic point where it goes from tough to tender.
Old fashioned Beef Stew
- 3 lbs boneless chuck roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp freshly ground pepper
- 2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup red wine
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 4 carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch slices
- 2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch slices
- 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut in eighths
- fresh parsley to garnish (optional)
- On medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil to a large heavy pot (one that has a tight fitting lid).
- When it begins to smoke slightly, add the beef and brown very well. Do in batches if necessary. Add the salt and pepper as the beef browns.
- Once browned, remove the beef with a slotted spoon set aside.
- Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, and add the flour and cook for 2 minutes stirring often.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add wine and deglaze the pan, scraping any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. The flour will start to thicken the wine as it comes to a simmer.
- Simmer wine for 5 minutes, and then add the broth, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, and the beef.
- Bring back to a gentle simmer, cover and cook on very low for about 1 hour.
- Add potatoes, carrots, and celery, and simmer covered for another 30 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with the fresh parsley if desired.