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The Ultimate in Comfort Food: Beef Stew

Posted Nov 16 2012 11:00am

medium 4057348964 300x200 The Ultimate in Comfort Food: Beef Stew Few comfort foods rank higher than beef stew. Think of it simmering on the stove or in the slow cooker all day long. You can smell its tantalizing flavor, to say nothing of all its other points.

You can use a cheap cut of meat that will be magically transformed into tender morsels. If you don’t normally eat your share of veggies, it’s hard to resist carrots, mushrooms and pearl onions that have soaked up all of the rich goodness. Beef stew also has the advantage of being pretty much hands-off cooking. Time takes over and does the work. Here are some tips for making the most of your recipe.

Don’t skimp the browning

Beef stew meat must be browned first, preferably, after being dusted with flour. This step adds flavor, and frankly, boosts the visual impact. The meat will cook thoroughly after hours in the pot; it just wouldn’t look as tasty.

Use pearl or cipollini onions.

These onions add a delicious sweetness to your beef stew. I like to use frozen pearl onion, which are already peeled. Just microwave them to thaw. Here’s another tip that I got from the late, but great, Jennifer Paterson of the Two Fat Ladies fame (God rest her soul.)

Prior to adding the onions to the stew, saute them in butter until they are browned. The caramelized onions are out of this world. Like browning the meat, they also ramp up the visual appeal.

Add the potatoes toward the end of cooking.

If you toss the potatoes in at the start, they’ll be mushy by the time the meat is done. I add them the last hour or so of cooking to allow them to absorb the broth.

Always make a lot.

The old adage about being better the next day certainly applies to beef stew. You’ll have leftovers or lunch for another day or two. If not, freeze the leftovers for another cold, winter day. You’ll thank yourself later.

photo credit: paige_eliz via photopin cc

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