Refers to the process of browning small cubes of meat then cooking them slowly with other ingredients in just enough liquid to cover all.
Stewing is wonderful way to cook in the fall and winter, when it is cold outside and nothing is better than the smells of a nice hot stew coming from the kitchen! Stewing came about as a way to cook tough cuts of meat, but has evolved into a staple of virtually every household. The basic process of stewing consists of cutting meat into cubes and browning them, then adding vegetables and liquid and allowing it to cook slowly at simmer until the meat is tender and juicy. Many people brown the vegetables as well before adding the liquid. A stew can be made on the stovetop in a pot, or it can also be cooked in the oven. Either method works well and will produce a tasty stew.
- The best cuts of meat for stews are chuck steak, blade steak, topside steak, shin steak, flank steak, and thick skirt steak. Try to pick out cuts with plenty of marbling in them, as these produce the juicier and more flavorful stews!
- Be careful if using lean cuts of meat. If cooked at too high a temperature or for too long, lean cuts tend to become dry in stews. The best way to stew leaner cuts of meat is to cook over a very low heat after browning, and check it often to make sure you do not overcook.
- You can make a thicker stew by using flour when you brown the meat cubes. Simply coat the meat with flour before browning. You can also add a brown roux to the stew to thicken it.
- The best part of stews is all things you can throw into them! Clean out your fridge and throw in everything you can think of, vegetables, potatoes, even barley all help to make a stew unique and flavorful!
- Adding fresh herbs to your stew can also make a huge difference! Good choices are rosemary, thyme, parsley, basil, and bay.
- Le Creuset makes a fabulous thing called a French Oven, which is a must-have for serious stewers. Not only can you brown the meat directly in this pot, therefore keeping all those wonderful flavors, but the cast iron is perfect for slow cooking on or in the oven!
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