Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Stew Tips

These are generally good bits of advice.

Some personal thoughts ...

1. Use homemade broth, whenever possible.

I rarely buy broth, unless someone else's recipe calls for it.  I usually make my own and freeze it.  If I'm out of broth at home, I use water and Maggi cubes.

2. Give stew plenty of time.

Throw it in a crockpot and ignore for several hours or all day.

3. Choose the right cut of meat.

I usually just buy precut stew meat. If I'm not doing that, I'm probably adding either ground meat, or leftovers.

4. Sear the meat first (probably in batches).

A great big fuck no to that. Stew is what I make when I don't want to screw around in the kitchen. See #2 above: I want to drop it in a crock and walk away. The only time I routinely cook the meat separately is when I use ground meat in sloppy joes or spaghetti sauce, because it needs the fat cooked out first. This a giant pain in the ass, so I'm not doing it if I don't absolutely have to. There are plenty of other ways to add flavor.

If you want to make fancy  stew, this is an effective step.  But I bet there are more people who think of stew as an easy recipe than a showoff recipe.

5. Decide where you want to go with spices.

We probably have over a hundred, plus whatever's growing in the yard during summer. Add dried things early or middle, fresh things late. If you have a lot of things you want to pick out later, put them in a cheesecloth or muslin bag to make that easier.

6. Don’t forget to deglaze.

I can't be arsed to do this either. When I have tried, it hasn't worked well. Fuck it. There are other options. Not everyone has to cook like a French chef. My farmemories include making soup in a hollowed rock and in a skin heated with hot rocks. A crockpot is a huge improvement over both. Trying to scrape guck off a pan, not so much. And I don't do the dishes, but I love the guy who does, and I don't want to make his day a pain in the ass either.

7. Add extra flavor with the right ingredients.

Really think about how they go together, too. I usually use sweet onions, but for dark meats like venison I want red ones and chocolate tomatoes, because of how the flavors hook together.

Consider ethnic imprints too. We have my_partner_doug
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