Stew or "chuck" meat comes from tougher parts of a cow, such as the leg, shoulder and rump. Browning and slow cooking stew meat over low heat is the key to achieving moist, tender beef. Browning the meat locks in juices and the slow and low cooking method helps break down the tough tendons and connective tissue, resulting in flaky, flavourful, butter-soft meat. Don't be put off by long cook times -- many stew meat recipes with long cooking times are just as quick and easy to prepare as other meat recipes with shorter cook times.
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Classic Beef Stews
Although this recipe for classic beef stew takes about two hours to cook, simple preparation will only take only five to 10 minutes of your time. Brown 0.454kg. stew meat that's been dredged in flour in a large pot or Dutch oven with 2 tbsp olive oil. Add 2 cups beef stock, 1 tbsp red wine, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 chopped onion, two bay leaves, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp pepper and a package of beef stew seasoning mix to the pot. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the bay leaves and add three sliced carrots, celery ribs and cubed potatoes. Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Use pre-sliced or frozen, sliced vegetables for even quicker meal prep. Try adding 1 tbsp cloves, Worchester sauce or soy sauce for savoury flavour variations.
Easy Pepper Steak
Pepper steak is usually cooked quickly in a wok with thin slices of sirloin, but this slow cooker variation utilises stew meat instead for a less costly version with just as much flavour. Combine 0.454kg. of stew meat that has been dredged in flour and browned in olive oil in a slow cooker with a can of beef broth, a can of stewed tomatoes, 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sugar and seasonings such as salt, garlic powder and ground black pepper to taste. Cook on the high setting for three hours. Add two chopped bell peppers during the last 30 minutes of cooking and serve over rice. Experiment with simple Asian food additions such as ground ginger and water chestnuts for added flavour and texture.
Tenderising stew meat in liquid marinades is a simple, but useful, trick for reducing recipe cook times. Place 0.454kg. of stew meat in a large, plastic zip-top bag and add 1 tsp of minced garlic, a small, quartered onion and teriyaki sauce to cover meat. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight for at least eight hours. Simply sauté or stir-fry stew meat over medium-high heat for 10 minutes and serve over rice or noodles. Try adding broccoli, mushrooms, snap peas or other veggies for additional flavour and texture.
Making beef burgundy with stew meat is easy and successful when done in one of two ways. If you don't mind the slow and low cooking method, simply brown 0.454kg. stew meat dredged in flour in a large Dutch oven, add 1/2 cup red wine, 1/2 cup of beef stock and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over low heat for an hour and a half. For a quicker meal, marinate raw stew meat in the wine and stock mixture overnight and then sauté or stir-fry for 10 to 15 minutes. Add a jar of marinara sauce to the pot or skillet to turn this recipe into a delicious beef marinara meal. Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes.
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