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-   -   A Better Stew (http://www.castironcollector.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2931)

W. Hilditch 11-14-2015 04:49 PM

A Better Stew
 
Stew is a good combination of flavors. My issue with stew was every bite tasted exactly like the last bite. Boring after the forth bite. So this is what I do now.

After searing the meat in a well seasoned DO I add small amounts of finely chopped veggies, spices and liquid to flavor the meat and broth. Only the veggies that will add flavor, not the ones that will absorb the flavor. While the stew simmers I cut up the veggies I want to add into bite sized pieces and steam, not boil, them separately until cooked.

About 20 minutes before serving I thicken the gravy with flour, adjust the spices and add the veggies. It is neat the way the flavor of each bite now resembles what it looked like on your fork or spoon with a bit of the stew flavor. Even the potatoes.

Hilditch

DSBradley 11-14-2015 08:52 PM

Re: A Better Stew
 
I always thought that stew was like spaghetti, the longer you cooked them together the better they blended and tasted. Aged overnight even better. Maybe it's a personal choice. Either way, I'd like to try it your way Hilditch. Cheers.

Dan Farmer 11-14-2015 08:59 PM

Re: A Better Stew
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DSBradley (Post 17364)
I always thought that stew was like spaghetti, the longer you cooked them together the better they blended and tasted. Aged overnight even better. Maybe it's a personal choice. Either way, I'd like to try it your way Hilditch. Cheers.

I prefer to cook it all together, then finish it in the blender. :-D

Just kidding!

JaredS 11-14-2015 10:37 PM

Re: A Better Stew
 
The secret to stewing is to braise your stew. Don't stew your stew. If you want an exceptional (if more technical and slightly more expensive stew) follow these general principles. Keep your stewing meat in as large pieces as possible. This leads to braising instead of stewing and preserves the individual character of the meat. Sear your meat first, then braise in your liquid of choice with large roughly chopped aromats (onions, celery, carrots, garlic, herbs, etc.). When done remove your meat and strain the liquid over meat and refrigerate for at least three hours, preferably overnight. To serve, add the gelatinized braising liquid and meat to a pan and heat gently, as soon as the gelatin liquifies, remove the meat and cut into the size chunks you prefer, removing any gristle, etc. Cook any vegetable you like as you like, add with meat back to stew sauce and serve. You can adjust the thickness of your stew with water, wine, broth, etc.

This method gives you both the "day after" texture for the meat while maintaining the flavor and texture of the veggies without making them soggy and disgusting.

Dan Farmer 11-14-2015 10:56 PM

Re: A Better Stew
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JaredS (Post 17375)
The secret to stewing is to braise your stew. Don't stew your stew. If you want an exceptional (if more technical and slightly more expensive stew) follow these general principles. Keep your stewing meat in as large pieces as possible. This leads to braising instead of stewing and preserves the individual character of the meat. Sear your meat first, then braise in your liquid of choice with large roughly chopped aromats (onions, celery, carrots, garlic, herbs, etc.). When done remove your meat and strain the liquid over meat and refrigerate for at least three hours, preferably overnight. To serve, add the gelatinized braising liquid and meat to a pan and heat gently, as soon as the gelatin liquifies, remove the meat and cut into the size chunks you prefer, removing any gristle, etc. Cook any vegetable you like as you like, add with meat back to stew sauce and serve. You can adjust the thickness of your stew with water, wine, broth, etc.

This method gives you both the "day after" texture for the meat while maintaining the flavor and texture of the veggies without making them soggy and disgusting.

Mmm... beef short ribs or lamb shanks... both are awesome braised!

W. Hilditch 11-14-2015 10:59 PM

Re: A Better Stew
 
But, but, but, but..... I don't want to preserve the character of the meat that I'm putting in a stew. I'm trying to cook it to death to change it into something tender and edible while preserving all the flavor in the pot. When I want to preserve the character of the meat I cook it as little as possible.

Hilditch

Mark H 11-19-2015 05:24 PM

Re: A Better Stew
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JaredS (Post 17375)
The secret to stewing is to braise your stew. Don't stew your stew. If you want an exceptional (if more technical and slightly more expensive stew) follow these general principles. Keep your stewing meat in as large pieces as possible. This leads to braising instead of stewing and preserves the individual character of the meat. Sear your meat first, then braise in your liquid of choice with large roughly chopped aromats (onions, celery, carrots, garlic, herbs, etc.). When done remove your meat and strain the liquid over meat and refrigerate for at least three hours, preferably overnight. To serve, add the gelatinized braising liquid and meat to a pan and heat gently, as soon as the gelatin liquifies, remove the meat and cut into the size chunks you prefer, removing any gristle, etc. Cook any vegetable you like as you like, add with meat back to stew sauce and serve. You can adjust the thickness of your stew with water, wine, broth, etc.

This method gives you both the "day after" texture for the meat while maintaining the flavor and texture of the veggies without making them soggy and disgusting.


Great advice. Up grade your meat folks. Use the methods above but try a better cut of meat. Sirloin or the outer loin of the animal tends to be more tender so no need to stew the meat as much. I grow my own vegs and I add parsnips, good carrots(not store bought) and speciality taters. Like mentioned add this towards the end so they have some character.(firmness)

W. Hilditch 11-19-2015 09:14 PM

Re: A Better Stew
 
I have used cubed beef tenderloin to make beef stew. It was not good. There is a certain flavor that one gets from a stew with the correct meat. There is a different flavor on gets from brazing, etc. or an incorrect cut of meat.

If I want to make stew I use the correct cut of meat for stew, and stew it. If you don't want stew, cook something else like a pot roast or a braised leg of lamb but don't screw with my stew.

Hilditch

Mark H 11-19-2015 09:29 PM

Re: A Better Stew
 
I have often heard that same thing Depends on the cook.

Dan Farmer 11-19-2015 10:24 PM

Re: A Better Stew
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by W. Hilditch (Post 17599)
I have used cubed beef tenderloin to make beef stew. It was not good. There is a certain flavor that one gets from a stew with the correct meat. There is a different flavor on gets from brazing, etc. or an incorrect cut of meat.

If I want to make stew I use the correct cut of meat for stew, and stew it. If you don't want stew, cook something else like a pot roast or a braised leg of lamb but don't screw with my stew.

Hilditch

I agree. Tenderloin is all about the tenderness, but must be left medium rare or less or it will be like sawdust, because generally it has very little intermuscular fat, and definitely no connective tissue to generate collagen. If I were to use tenderloin for a stew, I would have to use beef broth in the stew for flavoring, and brown and add the tenderloin at the last minute. But I'd have to ask myself why the hell I was doing that, when instead I could have braised an otherwise tough muscle with all sorts of connective tissue that would slowly break down into a soft, tender morsel and giving the broth that wonderful gelatin mouthfeel.


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