Beef Stew

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Sundancer7
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2005/01/24 04:46:09 (permalink)

Beef Stew

Mamaw Smith and I both made a beef stew this weekend. Both turned out real good except I like hers much better than mine due to the fact that she used a chuck roast and I used beef cut expecially for beef stew. Both of us floured the beef with salt and pepper and browned it. We both used garlic, potatoes, celery, onions and beef stew spices that were prepackaged. The difference was in the texture of the beef in the final product. Hers came out like it was a pulled pork while mine stayed totally solid. It made a better gravy and a better taste. The next time I elect to make a beef stew, I will not use those little cubes of beef. I made mine in a crock pot which I set on high for four hours and low for two hours. Mamaw Smith used a pressure cooker which may explain why her beef came apart and added so much more flavor. I have always been afraid of a pressure cooker but Mamaw Smith uses one consistently and has done so for as long as I can remember.

I am sure that there are many variations to the preparation of a beef stew. Any input that some of you may offer would be appreciated. I will add that I also made my Tennessee fried cornbread. That really added to the quality of the stew.

Thanks

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
#1

34 Replies Related Threads

    Cosmos
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    RE: Beef Stew 2005/01/24 12:19:18 (permalink)
    Chuck is definitely the meat of choice, all that connective tissue disintegrates in long, slow cooking and adds to the stew.

    I find the little cubes in my Tops store are usually chuck, but maybe you got top round, which is fairly lean. I can't speak to the difference in cooking in a crockpot or pressure cooker, because I use neither, but I think you're right in guessing the pressure cooker rendered the beef better.

    I made a veal stew last night myslef, it was from a Gourmet Magazine cook book. Its a family favorite, perfect for a -10 degree night.
    #2
    lleechef
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    RE: Beef Stew 2005/01/24 15:40:12 (permalink)
    I don't mind the beef stew cubes if I'm making beef barley soup or chili or boeuf bourguignon but I prefer a good thick cut of chuck for a good beef stew. Browned on all sides and slowly braised in a 325F oven with lots of vegetables. I suppose the pressure cooker would work well too but I prefer braising. Don't forget a big handfull of morels at the end!
    #3
    Rapunzll
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    RE: Beef Stew 2005/01/24 16:48:47 (permalink)
    I like stew, but it has to have dumplings! I use this easy Bisquick recipe:

    Bisquick Dumplings
    3/4 cup milk
    2 cups Bisquick®

    Mix milk and Bisquick® thoroughly with fork. Drop by spoonsful onto chicken, meat or vegetables in boiling stew (not into liquid). Cook over low heat for 10 minutes with kettle uncovered and for 10 minutes with kettle covered. Liquid should just bubble gently while cooking.
    #4
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Beef Stew 2005/01/24 17:07:41 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rapunzll

    I like stew, but it has to have dumplings! I use this easy Bisquick recipe:

    Bisquick Dumplings
    3/4 cup milk
    2 cups Bisquick®

    Mix milk and Bisquick® thoroughly with fork. Drop by spoonsful onto chicken, meat or vegetables in boiling stew (not into liquid). Cook over low heat for 10 minutes with kettle uncovered and for 10 minutes with kettle covered. Liquid should just bubble gently while cooking.



    I had never thought of that. I wonder what that would be like in a crock pot???????????????


    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #5
    Oneiron339
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    RE: Beef Stew 2005/01/25 07:44:13 (permalink)
    Paul, I think your time in the crockpot was too short. I leave my stew in for a min. of 8 hours. I also add a 1/2 cup of instant tapioica to make a thick gravy. Meat is always tender and the gravy is thick. My luck w/ the Bisquick in the crockpot has been awful, they get too soggy. Maybe it's the timing, but I gave up after two tries.
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    hatteras04
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    RE: Beef Stew 2005/01/25 08:27:11 (permalink)
    I made beef stew the other night with my new Le Creuset cast iron dutch oven and I was shocked at how much difference a good pan can make. When I browned the meat I got a tremendous amount of browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan and when I deglazed with some beef stock those all turned into flavor.
    #7
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Beef Stew 2005/01/25 09:48:02 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rapunzll

    I like stew, but it has to have dumplings! I use this easy Bisquick recipe:

    Bisquick Dumplings
    3/4 cup milk
    2 cups Bisquick®

    Mix milk and Bisquick® thoroughly with fork. Drop by spoonsful onto chicken, meat or vegetables in boiling stew (not into liquid). Cook over low heat for 10 minutes with kettle uncovered and for 10 minutes with kettle covered. Liquid should just bubble gently while cooking.


    Try mixing garlic granules, finely-diced roasted red pepper and green onions into the dumpling batter for confetti dumplings.
    #8
    chezkatie
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    RE: Beef Stew 2005/01/25 10:05:59 (permalink)
    Here is a beef stew recipe which is different and delicious. It comes from the cookbook "Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine" written by 2 sisters and as well as having great recipes, it is sort of family history and lots of memories.


    Beef and Lima Bean Stew

    4 Tablespoons butter
    2 1/2 lbs beef cubes
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 large onion, diced
    1/2 tsp. thyme
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 12 oz can of beer
    2 cups fresh raw lima beans or 1 package frozen

    Melt butter in Dutch oven. Add beef cubes and brown. Add all seasonings and saute for 5 minutes. Add beer and simmer slowly for 2 hours or until meat is tender. Add water if necessary, but only in small amounts since a fairly concentrated essence is desired. When meat is tender, add the lima beans and continue cooking for 1/2 hour. Serve over hot rice.
    #9
    Phishmonger
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    RE: Beef Stew 2005/01/25 11:42:50 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by oneiron339

    Paul, I think your time in the crockpot was too short. I leave my stew in for a min. of 8 hours. I also add a 1/2 cup of instant tapioica to make a thick gravy. Meat is always tender and the gravy is thick. My luck w/ the Bisquick in the crockpot has been awful, they get too soggy. Maybe it's the timing, but I gave up after two tries.
    I second the use of Minute Tapioca in the stew. I use 1/4 cup, and the gtavy comes out velvetty and glistening every time (I add it with the rest of the liquid ingredients)
    . I used some beef tips I had in the freezer for last week's stew. I think they were sirloin tips. The texture was not that great. I will revert to cutting up a chuck roast in the future. I also add two cans of cannelini beans to the stew at the end of the cooking time in the crock pot (after 8 hours) for about 15 minutes to heat through. Not bad! As for the starch, I just bake some Bisquick biscuits in the oven before serving the stew (so I can slather them with lots of butter).
    #10
    Phishmonger
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    RE: Beef Stew 2005/01/25 11:45:19 (permalink)
    Looks like my reply was fragmented into oneiron's original message, but you all get the point, I assume.
    #11
    corabeth
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    RE: Beef Stew 2005/01/25 13:18:51 (permalink)
    I vote for chuck. I try to get a chuck roast that has a lot of fat. I cut the fat off & saute it with vegetable oil & use that to saute cubes of chuck. I do not like the crockpot or pressure cooker for beef or pork(chicken is ok in the crockpot). I think you lose the "beef" or "pork" flavor of the meat. I love braisingm & do it in a slow oven , 250-275.
    #12
    aleswench
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    RE: Beef Stew 2005/01/25 14:05:13 (permalink)
    We actually do our beef stew in a cast iron pot. I've even cut up a london broil and used that with good results. Have to cook the meat for hours, then add the veggies at the end.

    Bisquick dumplings are so easy and they are wonderful - light and fluffy - I think 'Cakes' told me to use that in post I made a few months ago.
    #13
    lleechef
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    RE: Beef Stew 2005/01/25 22:06:42 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by hatteras04

    I made beef stew the other night with my new Le Creuset cast iron dutch oven and I was shocked at how much difference a good pan can make. When I browned the meat I got a tremendous amount of browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan and when I deglazed with some beef stock those all turned into flavor.

    Beef or veal or lamb or chicken stews are fabulous when cooked in a Le Creuset cast iron dutch oven!!! And yes, the pan certainly makes a HUGE difference! That's why us chefs prefer cast iron, copper, or Le Creuset because the cooking is even and ingredients do not stick or burn as they do with aluminum.
    #14
    queenb
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    RE: Beef Stew 2005/01/26 00:40:16 (permalink)
    I'm going to vote for th pressure cooker method, even though I am in fact afraid of it! I know my newer model is supposed to be safer than the ones my granny used but it still makes me nervous! But, I'll handle the fear factor to get the stew/pot roast/whatever that comes out of it!
    #15
    Greyghost
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    RE: Beef Stew 2005/07/20 18:58:11 (permalink)

    Well, I am sure Mamaw Smith had the best broth, but I am not sure she had the best stew. I like the meat in my stew whole but very tender. Sounds like your cook-off was a draw to me.

    When the meat in a stew gets stringy, it has already given all it can to the recipe. At this point, strain the broth and discard all the solids.

    Where Mamaw Smith's recipe ends, yours should begin.

    You don't need a pressure cooker though, do it in two stages. A day in the crock pot will give better results for the broth anyway. By all means buy a good sized chuck roast, use half for the broth and cut the other half into chunks for the actual stew. Brown both as you did, but reserve the chunks

    Now you start your stew. Meat goes in first, cook a few hours, add vegetables and cook till tender. Don't even think about the prepackaged stew spices. Use the basics, salt and pepper.

    The only thing to do now is to enjoy your stew.


    #16
    BT
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    RE: Beef Stew 2005/07/20 22:07:16 (permalink)
    Found a copy of this book ("Real Stew") on sale the other day for $5.98 at my local independent book store: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1558321993/qid=1121911192/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-7801152-9128665

    Last night I made stifado and ate it for dinner tonight. Here's a recipe similar to the one in the book (but not identical--I'm just not a good enough typist to type that one in when I can copy/paste this one):
    quote:
    Beef Stifado (Stew) Recipe
    Ingredients
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1-1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes
    2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
    12 ounces small white boiling onions, peeled
    1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    2-1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme OR 1 tsp dried thyme
    2-1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary OR 1 tsp dried rosemary
    2-1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano OR 1 tsp dried oregano
    1 bay leaf, crumbled
    1 tsp ground cumin
    2 cups dry red wine
    1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
    Salt and freshly ground pepper

    Instructions
    Preheat over to 350 degrees F.

    Heat oil in heavy 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven over medium high heat. Toss beef with flour in large bowl. Add beef to pan in batches and cook until brown, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer browned beef to bowl. Add onions to pan and cook until light brown, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, herbs and cumin to pan. Stir in wine and bring to a boil. Cover and bake in oven until beef is tender, about 2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm to 350-degree F oven before continuing.)

    Stir feta into stew. Return to oven and continue baking until cheese is heated through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

    Yield: 4 servings
    #17
    BT
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    RE: Beef Stew 2005/07/20 22:10:39 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by hatteras04

    I made beef stew the other night with my new Le Creuset cast iron dutch oven and I was shocked at how much difference a good pan can make. When I browned the meat I got a tremendous amount of browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan and when I deglazed with some beef stock those all turned into flavor.


    Wadja pay for it? I got my 5-qt oval Le Creuset "French oven" for $125 on E-Bay.

    But you know what? These are really, really nice and I kind of think they're even nicer than Le Creuset: http://www.surlatable.com/common/products/product_details.cfm?dmode=browse&StartRow=25&CRPCGNBR=27&CGRFNBR=38&PRRFNBR=13063
    #18
    don-o
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    RE: Beef Stew 2006/02/11 14:43:36 (permalink)
    Making beef stew today on a snowy day in East Tennessee (J City).

    I bought about a 3# chuck roast, cut to app 1" cubes. Mixed flour, ginger, dry white mustard, cummin, black pepper and a few other spice. Floured the beef and browned.

    I use a big stock pot. Start off with a beef stock (Minor's) around 4 cups worth and in goes the browned beef. Then taters, onion, carrot, celery. Couple Tbs of minced garlic. Get that to a boil.

    After that, it's taste and season. I have added a good dollop of my homemade bbq sauce (tomato based, with a nice bite); Lea and Perrins and some red wine.

    I believe it's about right. Will make the coenbread from the prepackaged White Lily mix which I find most acceptable.
    #19
    NebGuy
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    RE: Beef Stew 2006/02/11 15:20:36 (permalink)
    I know in my neck of the woods a lot of the packaged beef stew meat is scraps from making other cuts so you could be getting a combination of chuck, round, sirlion, etc which is not necessarily bad but like some others here I prefer using chuck in my beef stew. I think it has better flavor and a chuck roast is usually a lot less per pound than the packaged stew meat.
    #20
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Beef Stew 2006/02/11 16:03:21 (permalink)
    It is strange that the topic came back up but we must made a crock pot full of beef stew with carrots, potatoes, onions and some other great spices. we will be serving it to Mamaw Smith, daughter who lives across the street and mother in law who is visiting with us for a weel before Judi's chemo.

    Cornbread will have a hard crust with just a bit of sugar.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxvillle, TN
    #21
    don-o
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    RE: Beef Stew 2006/02/11 23:58:27 (permalink)
    Sugar in cornbread???
    Just...NO!!!

    Prayers for Judi - please pray for my bh - Juli

    Health issues as well...
    #22
    DLnWPBrown
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    RE: Beef Stew 2006/02/12 03:05:14 (permalink)
    I make my stew the way my grandmother did......... chuck roast cut up, dredged in seasoned flour then browned. Add my water along with my spices: kosher salt, LOTS of black pepper, and garlic powder. This must be cooked in a cast iron dutch over, the only way she ever did it. About 30 minutes in I add 1 sweet onion cut into quarters along with 2 carrots cut in large piece. When the meat is tender and the liquid has thickened some I add my potatoes and cook it slow until the are starting to fall apart.


    That's all there is to it.


    Dennis in Cary
    #23
    Jimeats
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    RE: Beef Stew 2006/02/12 05:21:35 (permalink)
    Just listening to the radio there was an infomercial, some doctor selling a book 2001 or 20001 natural items to put in your diet to make us all look like were 20 again and to live into the next century with out an ache or pain. Anyway he said in one of his teasers from the book to add 3 or 4 corks from wine bottles to your Beef Stew it not only adds flavor but due to its composition or whatever it"s a natural tenderizer go figure. I'll have to alter my wine consumtion habits all my wine has screw off caps. Just love that Fortisimo wine. I always use chuck not only dose it have more flavor you get more bang for your buck. Love a good chuck steak on the grill rather have that than a sirloin. Chow Jim
    #24
    the ancient mariner
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    RE: Beef Stew 2006/02/12 08:16:15 (permalink)
    Sundancer----Congratulations on your making the big time at Roadfood. Here is a recipe you can make for your family to celebrate.

    I had dinner at a friends house a long time ago where a great beef stew was served. I asked for the recipe and was told there was no written one, but if I had a pencil handy I should start writing. I have cooked up a batch of this wonderful stew about once a month for 30 years, or more. When the house was full of kids it was gobbled up in one meal. Now it takes me a week to finish it off.

    About 2# of chuck cut into chunks---chuck steak is great when on sale----browned in butter. Remove the meat and brown an onion and a clove of garlic in the butter. Return the meat and add a couple of cups of beef broth. Then add a couple of cups of carrots and potatoes and a stalk of celery. A bay leaf, some tarragon and then the secret ingredient---this is strickly between us, don't tell anyone, 1/2 cup of sweet vermouth. The stuff you make great Manhattans with. Cook it up in a dutch oven for about an hour and 1/4 or whenever the meat is tender. Then throw in a box of thawed out peas. I just run the peas in a strainer under hot water from the tap for a few seconds then toss them in and cook for another 10 minutes. Your ready for a feast, put a bowl of freshly grated parmesan cheese on the table with it and add that over the each bowl. Oh yea, have plenty of french bread on the table for dunking in the gravy. Roll up your sleeves and dig in.

    Added your bride to my list of people I pray for--don't know if the prayers of an old sinner can help---but as they say in Brooklyn "couldn't hurt".

    #25
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Beef Stew 2006/02/12 08:21:50 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by don-o

    Sugar in cornbread???
    Just...NO!!!

    Prayers for Judi - please pray for my bh - Juli

    Health issues as well...


    I agree with you on the sugar in the cornbread but that is the way the family likes it. Personally, I do not prefer it at all but I gotta do what makes the entire family happy. I fake them off as i do not add as much as they wish. I believe they would prefer it to be somewhat like a cake. I do not do that, I add a couple of tea spoons and tell them that I added a couple of tablespoons. Fools them every time

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #26
    roossy90
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    RE: Beef Stew 2006/02/12 13:22:26 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by DLnWPBrown

    I make my stew the way my grandmother did......... chuck roast cut up, dredged in seasoned flour then browned. Add my water along with my spices: kosher salt, LOTS of black pepper, and garlic powder. This must be cooked in a cast iron dutch over, the only way she ever did it. About 30 minutes in I add 1 sweet onion cut into quarters along with 2 carrots cut in large piece. When the meat is tender and the liquid has thickened some I add my potatoes and cook it slow until the are starting to fall apart.


    That's all there is to it.


    Dennis in Cary


    I think your Granny and my mom are related. Thats the way my mom ALWAYS made it, and it has stuck with me also, only I add a couple stalks of celery to it.

    Yum.. perfect for a day like today here in Maine!
    But we aren't getting the storm like they are south of me. And its a light powdery snow, not the heavy wet slushy type.
    #27
    txtwister
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    RE: Beef Stew 2006/02/13 13:38:05 (permalink)
    I just made stew last week using a cut of steak I'd never heard of - "Essex." (Looked a little like another mystery cut, the "del monico" which I suspect are just the ends of whatever roasts they're cutting at the time.) It was thick enough to cube nicely, decently marbled and cheap so I figured it'd make a decent stew - that's typically my method of choosing a cut for stew.

    The recipe itself is nothing special - same as everyone else's pretty much - but the best part is my cheddar dumplings. About two cups of biscuit mix, 1/3rd of a cup or so of cornmeal, about a cup of shredded cheddar, and probably 2/3rd - 1 cup of milk - enough to make a sticky dough. Usually I throw in some parsley or whatever strikes my fancy as well. The cornmeal really changes dumplings for the better IMO.

    It's going to get cool here toward the end of this week, and I think I'm going to have to do a repeat because it was so good.
    #28
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    RE: Beef Stew 2006/02/13 15:38:15 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sundancer7

    I have always been afraid of a pressure cooker but Mamaw Smith uses one consistently and has done so for as long as I can remember.

    Thanks

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN

    Admittedly I have not read in detail every post on this thread. However even a cursory reading indicates that our esteemed colleagues have addressed every point but one, your fear of pressure cookers.

    According to the much beloved Alton Brown and others on the Food Network and elsewhere, modern pressure cookers are much more reliable than in the olden days. The newer units fit together differently, more securely, preventing the storied explosions of Mamaw's youth.

    I can't speak to the differences in the finished product, but if you want to try cooking in a pressure cooker, and you've got a newer unit, there ain't nuthin' to be afeared of.

    Buddy
    #29
    Z66 Butch
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    RE: Beef Stew 2006/02/13 19:16:41 (permalink)
    I use cut up chuck cubed and browned. The usual veggies but I do take a couple of short-cuts. I add beef soup stock the enhance the flavor. When almost done I add about 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with some of the brown gravy liquid stuff.........I am to lazy to go look for the name right now, but it is that you add to turn your gravy dark brown........Just mix them together and stir into the stew and simmer a few more minutes!

    Butch
    #30
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