Stewing over the Weather
When I stepped out of the car at the hairdresser during the snow, I set both feet on a sheet of ice. I walked gingerly along, holding onto the cars on each side of me until I got to the cleared pavement.
When I complained about the weather to my hairdresser, she said, “I’m making beef stew this weekend.” It was a conversational leap, but one with a message. If you’re going to stew over anything, make it Beef Stew. Good advice.
The thought of a robust pot of meat and vegetables simmering in the kitchen took my mind off my park lot woes and the forecast of more miserable weather to come.
On the way home, I bought a chuck roast and some fresh vegetables. Ready. Set. Cook.
Picking the Right Pot
I really prefer an oven-cooked stew (at 300 degrees) rather than one simmered for hours in a Crock-pot. An electric pot cooks with a moist heat rather than a dry heat. I think the dry heat gives a better flavor and texture.
Even so, the ability to cook with the pot overnight won out. I reverted to using my 30-year-old Crock-pot to give it another chance to please me.
The next morning, I was greeted with a magnificent aroma and a dish tempting enough to cause me to spoon up a small bowl of the stew for breakfast.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about stews over the years.
- Skip the lean, pricier cuts and use a chuck-eye roast for best flavor.
- Don’t use pre-cut stew meat. It’s a gamble as to which cuts of meat you’re getting.
- Take the time to flour and season the meat. Then sear the pieces until a crust is formed.
- Saute the onions, celery and garlic to bring out the flavor before tossing all into the pot.
- Use Yukon potatoes, that have a buttery flavor and hold up beautifully under long cooking.
- Cook low and slow.
- Go ahead, add a little balsamic vinegar, if you like.
- Serve with noodles, rice, or cornbread.
This post has been updated.