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Topic: Beef Stew Tips!  (Read 587 times)
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txweekendchef
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« on: January 15, 2013 07:41:43 PM »

It is getting downright cold around here in Fort Worth as the Stock Show comes to town.
Time to make my Stock Show stew. I wrote down some stew tips on my blog that i thought I would share here.

Here are a couple of stew pics first.















And here are my tips:

Beef stew is one of those dishes that is more about technique than recipe, and can sometimes be a little counterintuitive. Tender cuts of meat can end up being dry and tough when cooked in stews. The whole process of stewing meat is to use slow, moist heat to break down the collagen (connective tissue) in tougher cuts of meat to make them tender, similar to braising. The collagen turns into a tender gelatin.

On the other hand, tender cuts of meat are usually well marbled with fat, which makes them tender and juicy. But the same moist heat process that turns tough collagen into tender gelatin will melt the fat out of tender meat and make it dry and tough.

So chuck, round and bottom round are all good choices for stew. Meats that braise well like short ribs and beef shanks are also good. But with this being Texas, I have a soft spot for brisket, and brisket is perfect for stew!

Here are some tips and techniques for making a good hearty beef stew.

Cut your own stew meat. Sure, you can save a little time by picking up that pre-cut package of meat for stew at the grocery store, but whats really in it? Maybe youll get lucky and they sliced up an extra roast that was lying around or maybe it is just all the leftover scraps form a days worth of butchering. I say its best to just pick out a nice 3-pound roast or brisket and slice it yourself into 1 inch cubes, no luck needed.

Know your potatoes. Not all potatoes are created equal. Russets are high in starch and can fall apart in stews. Boiling potatoes like Red and Yellow keep their shape, but can be a little waxy. So try Yukon Gold, which will keep its shape and has enough starch to not be waxy.

Time it just right. Stew meat usually takes 1 to 3 hours to become tender, vegetables take 30 minutes to an hour. So give the meat a head start and put vegetables in the last hour. Also, when using herbs in stew, start with dry herbs at the beginning and finish with fresh herbs at the end. If your stew is not thick enough, add Wondra flour at the last minute for thickening; it does not clump. Just mix a few tablespoons with a little cold water and add to the stew. Give the stew another 5 to 10 minutes and it should thicken nicely.

Give it a rest. Stew tastes better after it has had some time to sit, especially overnight in the fridge. But even an hour or two helps. So if you have time, let it set an hour or two off the heat to let the flavors improve, then reheat and serve.

I have more pics and my Stock Show Stew recipe here on my blog.

I am planning to make a lot more stew this winter so if you have any tips I missed, please pass them along Grin
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Steve from Cowtown (Fort Worth)
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lovesclutter
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013 08:29:46 PM »

I'm starving and you post this? LOL, they all look delicious and appreciate the tips because cold weather is soup and stew weather. Have fun at the show.
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txweekendchef
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2013 09:54:37 AM »

I'm starving and you post this? LOL, they all look delicious and appreciate the tips because cold weather is soup and stew weather. Have fun at the show.

Thanks lovesclutter. Show starts this weekend, but everybody is already dressing up a little more western. Kind of looks like the old west except for all those dually pickup trucks!
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Steve from Cowtown (Fort Worth)
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