The best part about stewing is it does all the work for you. This comforting cooking method takes cubes of beef mixed with vegetables and other ingredients in enough liquid to cover them all to create a delicious, hearty meal.
This is a slow-cooking method, similar to braising, with the key difference being the beef is covered in liquid. Stewing is best done in a heavy stockpot or Dutch oven on the stovetop or in the oven, or in a slow-cooker.
If you're using pre-packaged (or cutting your own) chunks, make sure they're not too small to prevent overcooking. Aim for cubes about the size of a golf ball. Many stew recipes call for dredging the beef in seasoned flour before browning.
Heat a drizzle of oil in the pan over medium heat and brown the meat on all sides, and drain (unless your recipe says to leave the drippings). You may need to work in batches if using a smaller pan. If you're using a slow cooker, transfer it over.
Depending on your recipe, now's the time to add seasonings, vegetables and liquid — such as beef broth, wine, beer, juice or even water. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
Follow your recipe for timing guidelines. Don't lift the lid — unless your recipe calls for adding vegetables or other ingredients later on. You’ll know it’s done when the beef is fork tender.
Use a tight-fitting lid and keep it on while stewing to prevent moisture and heat loss, which can impact cooking time.
This describes the process of coating the meat — usually with seasoned flour or bread crumbs — before cooking. Dredging not only seals in moisture and adds flavor, but also helps keep the meat from sticking to the pan while browning.