The Grand Canyons

What Food Experts Say: Deconstructing the Ideal Beef Stew Base

Posted In In Vision - By The Grand Canyons on Tuesday, May 31st, 2016 With No Comments »

Beef Stew The beef stew may be a tough nut to crack for the uninformed and inexperienced cook, but it’s really no rocket science. With a little bit of know-how (i.e. heeding the advice of cooking experts), you can make a beef stew that is worthy of becoming one of your family’s heirloom dishes.

Here’s what the experts got to say about this dish:

According to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, making that mouthwatering stew is dependent on a number of factors—the most important being the base. “Investing in the base layer will pay dividends at the end,” he writes on his website.

For the ideal beef stew base, he says that bay leaves, rosemary, and olives make the best ingredients. To thicken the stew, he advises cooks to dunk and coat meat pieces in flour before adding them to the stew mixture. He also recommends adding a spoonful of peanut butter for spicy stews.

Bon Appetite senior associate food editor Alison Roman stresses on some “don’ts” if you want to cook beef stew the right way. First, she says, don’t use any other cut of meat other than the chuck because other cuts can jeopardize your stew. Her second most important advice is to avoid adding beef into the stew while it’s still raw.

“Flavor comes from a good sear. Scraping up those caramelized brown bits from the bottom of your pot is going to give your stew a deep, rich flavor,” she says.

J. Kenji López-Alt, author of the James Beard Award-nominated column The Food Lab, meanwhile says one should go easy on the thickening agent. “I found that about 2 tablespoons of flour for 5 cups of starting liquid was about all my stew could handle before flavor started taking a hit,” he writes in his column on the Serious Eats website.

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Understanding what makes beef stew a complex dish in itself is the key to learning how to cook it. Follow the suggestions above and enjoy a hearty dinner with your family.