Stew

slopsbucket
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Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2014 22:56

Stew

by slopsbucket » Wed May 22, 2019 04:12

Browning the Meat.

If you do this properly for a good stew then you have no need to use bought stock. Browning the meat properly creates the stock. But of course, there’s a trick to that.

The biggest problem is that when you drop meat into a pan it sucks all the heat out of the pan. There’s two obvious answers, both impractical for most of us, more heat, or a big heavy cast iron pot that holds a greater volume of heat. Yes, the pan works like a big battery but it holds heat instead of electricity.

Third answer, it’s a stew and you really want maximum flavour, put just a few pieces at a time in the pan and let them fry up properly before adding more, crispy bits all over, that’s the flavour. Doesn’t matter if they get tough, you’re making stew, they’ll go soft again.

I don’t use a great deal of heat. I cut the fat off my meat first, I cut that up in to little pieces and they go in the pan and start frying first. Don’t bother with the onions and herbs and spices until all the meat is properly browned. Then go for it. Onions and garlic, a little fresh chilli and some spices. Then some water and a tin of diced tomatoes….

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For thickening there’s lots of better things you can use than corn flour. One of my favourites is Yellow Split Peas, the dried peas that you use for making Pea and Ham Soup. Add them just after your stew has come properly to the boil. They need to stew for a long time.

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A lot of different grains and various dried legumes like lentils or peas will work fine, potatoes are also a good thickener if diced small, it all depends on what flavour you want, but they all take a long time to cook. And they all really flatten the flavour, you need more of the herbs and spices and salt than you would think.

If cooked long enough the vegetables make the better thickener because they freeze better. It’s a lot cheaper to buy and cook larger amounts than smaller amounts, so the resulting big pot of stew can be packaged away in single serve containers in the freezer. Work lunches, or if you’re getting home late and want something quick. If the thickener is a vegetable instead of a grain it microwaves just fine and comes out not much different from when you first cooked it.

Cheers,

Andrew.
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