Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew

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Sundancer7
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2004/01/05 20:11:16 (permalink)

Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew

The sundancer does not profess to be a good cook such as the Mayor, lleechef or Bushie. I make a simplistic beef stew using ordinary ingredients such as the veggies offered at Walmart plus beef stew meat in the same place. I put them in the crockpot and add some onions, garlic and other spices. Maybe I add a jalapeno.

Perhaps you can help me crank it up a notch or so.

It is in the category of comfort food, but I like it a bit greasy, thick and tasy.

If you have some ideas, the Sundancer would appreciate it.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
#1

29 Replies Related Threads

    Cakes
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/05 21:23:15 (permalink)
    Sundancer,

    One little trick is to add a dollop of lemon juice at the end, maybe 20 minutes before it's done. It adds an edge to the taste that is quite effective.

    Cakes
    #2
    blake76
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/06 02:06:15 (permalink)
    One great secret ingredient is hoisin sauce (slightly-sweet, dark sauce that--I think--imitates oyster sauce)--you can get it in the Asian foods section of most supermarkets. A tablespoon of that, plus as much red wine as you can spare, does nicely.
    #3
    GordonW
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/06 03:23:08 (permalink)
    I can't do a good beef stew. I think one of the secrets is to cook at the lowest temp possible, and use some really low-grade chuck. The connective tissue in the chuck adds flavor and collagen; the low temp keeps it from getting tough -- braise in the oven, rather than on top. I've started adding cajun seasoning (no, not BAM!! KICK IT UP A KNOTCH!!; just the regular stuff off the supermarket shelf); it has spice and salt. And check the onions; too much onion that is too sweet screws it up.
    #4
    EliseT
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/06 05:07:01 (permalink)
    I use round steak...much better than stew beef. Brown it before putting it in the crock pot. Celery, onion, garlic, carrots, lots of potatoes. Sometimes I add Cajun seasoning (Paul Prudholme's pork magic is a fave) or an OXO beef boullion cube from England. I usually add bay leaves and marjoram. I use canned beef broth and red wine or sometimes a little beer. But what really makes a great stew is dumplings...the big fluffy kind. Bisquick works just fine...mmmm...I'm hungry!
    #5
    Bushie
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/06 09:00:14 (permalink)
    Like Elise suggested, a touch of wine adds a nice flavor. Not too much, just splash some in and "remember" what you did so you can adjust the next time. I use red or white, whatever I have open, and it improves the flavor IMHO.
    #6
    Grampy
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/06 09:35:07 (permalink)
    Sundancer:

    The key is a good chuck, from the flank, or a bottom-round pot roast, well-marbled. Cut into two-inch cubes, because anything less has a good chance of drying out. Pat it dry and lightly dust with flour. It MUST be dry. Heat a large, heavy pot and add a layer of vegetable oil (lard if you are going for a Tex-Mex style). Thake a good half pound of bacon and sauté until the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and add the beef in batches until well browned. That's the basis for any good stew. From there I like to add sliced onion to brown, and then some garlic and carrot, with salt pepper and some thyme. I toss in a little more flour and return the meat. I cover with hot stock (cheat if you have to), and a cup or two of a full-bodied red (dark beer if you are going for a Belgian flair). I suppose you could do the rest in a crockpot, but I put my pot in the oven at about 325 for an hour and a half, stirring occasionaly. Then add whatever veggies you like and continue cooking until all is tender. This will depend on the quality of the beef. Taste for seasoning.
    #7
    tiki
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/06 11:00:51 (permalink)
    All great suggestions!!! I find that if the stew's gravy isnt thick enough for my taste i add a little toamtoe paste at the end and let it thicken.and i use broth and an can of diced tomatoes along withb that wine,instead of water. I also dredge the beef in flour before browning it---this also tends to thicken the sauace up---like a roux---which is also a good way to thicken the sauce!! i have been know to keep rouxs in the freezer to use a thickener for my soups and stews. Also ---try useing more root vegies then just carrots and potatoes---i LOVE turnips and rutabagas in stew and sweet potato too--and lots of large chunks of bell peppers--they breakdown as they coof and make for a rich stew. Now---im going to heat the stew i made sunday for my lunch!!! Nothing better on a cold winter day!!
    #8
    Lone Star
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/06 12:13:53 (permalink)
    Browning the meat coated with a little flour makes all the difference. I add a little Kitchen Bouquet during the browning for extra depth and flavor.
    #9
    lleechef
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/06 12:41:49 (permalink)
    I concur with browning the meat coated with flour. I also, like Grampy, do the bacon thing and always, always use red wine and beef stock and then throw in whatever vegetables I want. The classic Boeuf Bourguignon just has bacon, pearl onions and mushrooms. Sometimes less is better. It's delicious served with a side of buttered parsleyed egg noodles or some nice fried potatoes. If the red wine I happen to have is not very full bodied, I throw in a splash of Cognac at the end. Yummmmmm.
    #10
    Bushie
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/06 13:29:05 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Grampy

    Pat it dry and lightly dust with flour. It MUST be dry.

    Grampy, sorry if this is a stupid question, but why must the meat be dry before flouring?
    #11
    Grampy
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/06 13:37:38 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Bushie

    quote:
    Originally posted by Grampy

    Pat it dry and lightly dust with flour. It MUST be dry.

    Grampy, sorry if this is a stupid question, but why must the meat be dry before flouring?


    A bit of flour just dusted on ensures that the meat will crisp when it hits the hot oil. The drier the meat, the less flour you will need. Any blood on the meat will cause clumps of flour and in effect coagulate it, thereby forming small lumps -- those same nasty things in poorly made gravy.
    #12
    Bushie
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/06 13:47:24 (permalink)
    Thanks, Grampy! Makes sense.
    #13
    Rusty246
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/06 14:37:29 (permalink)
    I always simmer stew beef and onions, WITH soup bones to add an extra richness(okay, maybe a little extra grease) then remove them right before adding my celery, carrots and taters. The final for me is to thicken with a cornstarch/water mixture if needed, a touch of kitchen bouquet for color and a splash of worcestershire, serve over egg noodles, with warm crusty thick bread! The dog gets the cooked out soup bones...
    #14
    EdSails
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/06 18:54:15 (permalink)
    Beer or wine along with the broth works well. I also (when I'm in the right mood) add a little nutmeg, mace and ginger to mine.
    #15
    Rhodes
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/22 08:59:05 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Grampy

    Sundancer:

    The key is a good chuck, from the flank, or a bottom-round pot roast, well-marbled. Cut into two-inch cubes, because anything less has a good chance of drying out. Pat it dry and lightly dust with flour. It MUST be dry. Heat a large, heavy pot and add a layer of vegetable oil (lard if you are going for a Tex-Mex style). Thake a good half pound of bacon and sauté until the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and add the beef in batches until well browned. That's the basis for any good stew. From there I like to add sliced onion to brown, and then some garlic and carrot, with salt pepper and some thyme. I toss in a little more flour and return the meat. I cover with hot stock (cheat if you have to), and a cup or two of a full-bodied red (dark beer if you are going for a Belgian flair). I suppose you could do the rest in a crockpot, but I put my pot in the oven at about 325 for an hour and a half, stirring occasionaly. Then add whatever veggies you like and continue cooking until all is tender. This will depend on the quality of the beef. Taste for seasoning.


    Follow this one and you will do no wrong - trust Grampy! I made something very close to this recipe this weekend and it was good good good. I varied it by using whole `shin beef' pieces I got at Lancaster market instead of cut up chuck roast and it was excellent fare for warming up the house, filling it up with great smells, and filling us up with some great stew
    #16
    Grampy
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/22 09:29:41 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rhodes

    quote:
    Originally posted by Grampy

    Sundancer:

    The key is a good chuck, from the flank, or a bottom-round pot roast, well-marbled. Cut into two-inch cubes, because anything less has a good chance of drying out. Pat it dry and lightly dust with flour. It MUST be dry. Heat a large, heavy pot and add a layer of vegetable oil (lard if you are going for a Tex-Mex style). Thake a good half pound of bacon and sauté until the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and add the beef in batches until well browned. That's the basis for any good stew. From there I like to add sliced onion to brown, and then some garlic and carrot, with salt pepper and some thyme. I toss in a little more flour and return the meat. I cover with hot stock (cheat if you have to), and a cup or two of a full-bodied red (dark beer if you are going for a Belgian flair). I suppose you could do the rest in a crockpot, but I put my pot in the oven at about 325 for an hour and a half, stirring occasionaly. Then add whatever veggies you like and continue cooking until all is tender. This will depend on the quality of the beef. Taste for seasoning.


    Follow this one and you will do no wrong - trust Grampy! I made something very close to this recipe this weekend and it was good good good. I varied it by using whole `shin beef' pieces I got at Lancaster market instead of cut up chuck roast and it was excellent fare for warming up the house, filling it up with great smells, and filling us up with some great stew


    Shin is actually great. When I first moved to France, I was unfamiliar with the different cuts. I told the butcher what I was making, and that is what he gave me. Obviously, you want something nicely marbeled that will render fat as it cooks. Anything too lean will dry out. I had a friend who tried to impress me by using tenderloin. Boy, was that a waste of a good piece of meat!
    #17
    Bushie
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/22 09:39:27 (permalink)
    I want to add another kudo for Grampy. I had always made stew on the stovetop, but last week I made a batch and tried cooking it in the oven as he suggested above. It really seemed to make a difference! The "gravy" came out almost perfect. I plan to start doing it that way from now on.
    #18
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/24 07:10:28 (permalink)
    Bushie and Grampy: I will try the oven thing. I like the idea of browning the cubes of beef first and then inserting in the oven.

    Sounds like a neat Super Bowl thing for Super Bowl Sunday except I may do it the Saturday before.

    I get a little bit confushed on what kind of beef to use. I always used the crok pot where the beef sedem to get real tender no matter what cut I used. If I understood Grampy correctly, it cooks in the oven in 1 1/2 hours. Maybe you can suggest a cut that will tenderize in that amount of time. I am not sure I have ever heard of the cut described.

    I guess the veggies really depend on taste. I wonder if I can leave out the potatoes and carrots and add cauliflower and some other low carb stuff?

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    EliseT
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/24 08:45:06 (permalink)
    Top Round is already pretty tender. That's my favorite.
    #20
    EliseT
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/24 08:47:35 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    Top Round is already pretty tender. That's my favorite.


    For low-carb veggies, I would suggest green beans added near the end of cooking. Also, if you use red rose or white potatoes instead of baking potatoes, they have a low glycemic index and don't spike your blood sugar like baking "Idaho" potatoes.
    #21
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/24 15:12:34 (permalink)
    Elise, thank you and I did not know about those type of potatoes. I hope Walmart has them.

    I am pleased with the weight reduction program and I do not want to screw it up too much before the BBQ trip.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #22
    Grampy
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/24 23:09:42 (permalink)
    I agree with Clothier. Bouillon cubes are too all too often bad. There are exceptions. Instead of bouillon cubes, though, try Minors concentrated stock in a white tub. Restaurants always have it on hand when the real stock goes dry. BJ's and other places have it. It is a reliable substitute.
    #23
    EliseT
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/25 07:16:46 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sundancer7

    Elise, thank you and I did not know about those type of potatoes. I hope Walmart has them.

    I am pleased with the weight reduction program and I do not want to screw it up too much before the BBQ trip.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN


    They are what alot of people call "boiling potatoes". Anything thin-skinned and waxy is better than Idahos.
    #24
    spweimerskirch
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/25 17:24:31 (permalink)
    Sundancer,
    A little known trick is to cook your meat and veggies separate until the last 30 minutes and then only fold in veggies. Trust me I make about 50 gallons a month at the store and my Grama is never wrong. Another little spicy idea is the good old serano chili [pepper, more heat than the jalapeno so go easy, but awesome flavor. Spweimerskirch
    #25
    spweimerskirch
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/25 17:27:44 (permalink)

    sorry Sun,
    One last thing leave out the green peppers and add leaks or red peppers or orange and yellow peppers for better sweet flavor and less acid.
    Cheers..
    #26
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/01/25 23:10:14 (permalink)
    Dearfolk,
    Just now I posted something about Travis' beef stew (which I tasted for the first time today at The Normaltown Cafe') on another thread. It was only very lean, trimmed beef at first glance, but then chunks of potato, a few vegetables, a glimmer of spice, and a broth as thick as flies at a summer picnic evidenced themselves. I've scantly had better. He swears he didn't use a recipe: "I mean, anybody knows how to make beef stew," he would shrug.
    Just like the old Jimmy Webb song "MacArthur Park" goes, "I'll never have that recipe again." It's 11:07 P. M. and I'm not hungry again yet. It was absolutely the best beef stew I've ever had in any restaurant anywhere. It was so thick you could nearly about turn the bowl upside down and it'd stay in there. Now, folks - that's THICK.
    Plumb Stewed And Proud Of It, Ort. Carlton in Getting Colder Athens, Georgia.
    #27
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/02/06 19:08:36 (permalink)
    Ort: I wish I knew how important a lean beef was. I have tried it both ways. sometimes a little fat improves the taste.

    In addition the beef with fat improves the gravy with the potatoes and onions.

    I have done it in a crock pot and letting it cook for about eight hours. I like it thickened a bit.

    I would appreciate your thoughts on lean vs. fat beef.

    My personal views are I like some fat.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #28
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/02/09 19:32:38 (permalink)
    After reviewing the above post, I have finally decided on using a cube beef with fat and doing it in a crock pot. I think that it requirs some fat in the beef and a huge amount of onions, thick sliced potatoes, carrots, fresh pressed garlic, some bacon grease and thickner.

    The spices are somewehat makes a difference. I add Cajun spices, garlic powder, onion power, salt and pepper.

    Set my crock pot on low and let it rip for 8 hours. Thank God it has a timer.

    Take the above and add it with some Tennessee fried cornbread and let it rip.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #29
    lleechef
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    RE: Wish I knew, How to do a neat beef stew 2004/02/09 21:12:06 (permalink)
    Sundancer is just RIPPIN off the food! Beef stew, Tennessee fried cornbread...........Go Paul, Go!
    #30
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