What Are the Benefits of Stewing Food?
Running the gamut from comfort foods to fine cuisine, stews have worked themselves into the fabric of Western cooking. Why have they remained so popular for so long?
Why Stewing Matters
When asked about the benefits of stewed food, here are some reasons that are often listed:
- The meat juices are retained as part of the stew
- Correct slow cooking results in very little evaporation
- It is economic on fuel
- Nutrients are conserved
- Tough foods are tenderized
- Economical in labor because foods can be bulk cooked
Implicit in this list are some further advantages: those of economy and flavor.
Since tougher cuts of meat, which are generally cheaper, can be tenderized through stewing, cooks with a strict budget are given a bit of wiggle room. Add in the fact that, as mentioned, stewing generally consumes less energy, since the cooking is done at relatively low temperatures, and it's beginning to look as if stewing may be a wise economical choice.
But that's not all.
Stewing also produces wonderful dishes. Because meats and stewed vegetables retain their own juices, the flavors produced by this method are typically rich and interestingly textured.
Where to Start
A good place to start for beginners would be with this Stewed Chicken and Rice recommended by the New York Times. Though you will need some specialty kitchen tools (namely, a Dutch Oven), the recipe itself is simple and easy to follow, guaranteeing you a rich, savory dish full of complex flavors.
If this recipe works well for you, you're in luck. The internet simply teems with wonderful recommendations for all manner of stewed foods.
Why We Care
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Posted in: Cooking Tips & Recipes