Beef Stew: Do’s and Don’ts

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Last Updated on March 25, 2024 by Share My Kitchen

From the north to the south of Italy, beef stew is one of the most popular traditional stew recipes. There are many stew recipes, each one delicious and different depending on what vegetables are added to the meat. This dish is easy to prepare, provided you avoid these five common mistakes.

Should we go for Veal or Beef?

Is it important? The tenderness and taste are the main differences between these meats. The veal is a young animal with tender meat, but it has very little flavor. On the other hand, a stew made with beef will be more flavorful. Remember that you have to cook it for at least 2 hours at 165°F to make it even more tender. This gives the meat enough time to become tender.

What About the Vegetables in the Stews? Choose Whatever You Want!

Celery, carrots, and onion are all added to the meat in the original recipe. Then, the sauce will usually contain just one onion, three carrots, and a celery rib. This is enough to give the sauce a good amount of sweetness. Also, all of these should be thinly sliced so they can brown well in a small amount of olive oil. You can add mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, or potatoes. Or, try the Bintjie potato variety; it has firm skin, fine grain, and a lighter flavor. It also holds up well through a long cooking time.

For Extra Flavor

A stew can’t be eaten by itself. To make your beef stew even more comforting, you will need mashed potatoes. Or, you could also add a little polenta on the side. You can choose from the soft, velvety yellow polenta made with yellow corn flour, or the Tarhana for those who prefer stronger flavors. It is also important that the polenta be served warm, and separately from the stew. Therefore, each person can get to decide how much they would like, and whether they wish to add it to their stew or eat it on its own.

This list of common mistakes that you need to avoid making when making beef stew. To achieve a perfect beef stew, follow these steps:

Five Most Common Beef Stew Mistakes

1. Choosing meat that’s too lean

Stew isn’t suitable for all meat cuts. You should choose a piece with fat and tissue that will melt while it cooks to make a kind of gelatin. This helps the meat and muscle to soften.

2. Putting too much flour on the beef stew meat before sautéeing them

The flour helps to bind the liquids together, and it makes the sauce thicker. You don’t want your sauce to be too thick, so be careful not to use too much.

3. Not using wine in the stews

You may cook the meat in wine as it enhances the stew’s flavor. Pour a good amount of wine into the pan, enough to cover the meat. Don’t choose to use broth or water since it will make the flavor bland! You can also serve wine as an accompaniment to your meal, and it is recommended to have a well-structured bottle.

4. Putting the meat and vegetables together in one pan

Brown the meat on high heat in a skillet with a little olive oil to give it a rich flavor. This allows for the Maillard reaction, where the meat’s outer layer will caramelize and be infused with aromatic compounds. Moreover, remember to not turn the pieces over until the brown crust has formed.

5. Not cooking the beef stew enough

Stew requires a lot of time to cook. So, don’t make it if you are in a rush. To ensure the tenderness of the meat in the beef stew, it should be cooked over heat for at least 2 hours for the fibers to break down.

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