Thermodyne Cooking Tips: Making Your Best Stew
Stew is one of those versatile foods we love to enjoy year-round. Whether you're coming home from a day at the beach or bundled up from a winter excursion, nothing says “comfort food” like a delicious, piping hot bowl of stew. We'd like to give you some simple tips for making your best stew every time, whether you're cooking for your family, a large group, or your clients.
Brown the meat first. This goes for any kind of meat, whether beef, chicken, ham, etc. Cook it in olive, or other healthy oil, over medium-high heat, until the meat is a little seared. This helps keep the meat the proper consistency while stewing and adds to the flavor.
When stewing beef, add vegetables later. If you're cooking on the stove top, you should simmer the meat by itself in broth for about an hour or more before adding vegetables. If you add the vegetables at the beginning, you'll wind up with overcooked vegetables before the meat is tender. Add potatoes about fifteen minutes after the other vegetables, as these cook the fastest. If you're stewing chicken or ham, you can add the vegetables (besides potatoes) at the beginning with the meat.
Using a slow cook and hold oven gives you more freedom. When preparing stew in a slow cook and hold oven, it heats and simmers the food so slowly that you can add all the ingredients at once. Usually, higher settings will cook the stew in 5 hours, or 9 hours on lower settings. Remember that even with a slow cook and hold oven you should brown the meat first - it really does make a world of difference.
Add celery leaves to chicken stew. Normally you cut these off and throw them away. When making chicken stew, go ahead and cut up the leaves along with the stalks. They add a savory flavor.
Don’t over-thicken. Often, food manufacturers thicken canned stews with cornstarch, which is probably due to the fact that many people are gluten intolerant. Although cornstarch is a good thickener, the problem is that it tends to give stews a gel-like consistency that is a little unappealing. Thicken with flour (regular or gluten-free) by first mixing a tablespoon of the flour in a small amount of water until well-combined, and then pour it into the pot.
At Thermodyne Foodservice Products, Inc., we provide slow cook and hold ovens that keep savory stews fresh and ready for your meals or events. Feel free to contact us with any questions about our product lines.
Posted in: Cooking Tips & Recipes