Beef stew in all its different variations is a favorite Canadian dish for several reasons. First, it is ideal for freezing and storage and can thus be prepared ahead. Whether it is for a family dinner or a group function. Second, everybody loves beef stew. Third, by simply varying some ingredients and spices, you can have a different dish.
No matter which variation you use, there are still some basic tips and tricks towards making that perfect beef stew.
1. Cut the beef to equal size. This allows the meat to cook using the same amount of time.
2. Brown the meat first before simmering or slow-cooking. The browning process gives the beef its nice brown color. It also results in a richer flavor for the meat. Browning is a chemical process that combines the sugar and amino acids in the meat giving it a strong aroma,
3. Brown in batches. Make sure there is room in the frying pan for all the meat chunks, Do not overcrowd.
4. Pre-heat the pan before searing. While browning or searing, allow the process to complete before stirring the meat.
5. Slow cook and simmer for at least two hours to give the meat that “melt in the mouth” tender texture.
6. Use a good base, such a beef broth, or canned tomatoes, tomato paste, or a curry sauce. Red wine is also a good addition.
7. Add vegetables such as carrots, celery, mushroom, peas, potatoes, parsnips, turnips, sweet peppers.
8. Use flour or cornstarch to thicken the sauce at the last minute and give it that nice glaze.
Serve with Yorkshire pudding. (See our foolproof Yorkshire pudding recipe that has been handed down for several generations)