Stewing is a process that requires patience and an understanding of how flavours develop over time. Here’s our tips for creating the perfect stew!
- Choosing the Right Cut of Meat: For a flavour-rich stew, opt for cuts that are tough
and full of collagen, such as beef short-rib, lamb shoulder, or pork shoulder. These
cuts are perfect for slow cooking. When collagen is cooked in a moist environment
over a long period it breaks down and forms gelatin. This process will result in
extremely tender meat and a luxuriously savoury stew.
- Browning the Meat: Take your time to brown the meat pieces well. This step
involves a process called the Maillard reaction, this is essential for creating flavours.
This requires a very hot pan with enough oil to cover the base. Ensure that you don't
overcrowd the pan, this way you give the meat enough space to sear rather than
- Introducing Aromatic Vegetables: After removing the meat, use the same pot to
sauté the aromatic vegetables like garlic, onions, carrots, and celery. Add spices and
herbs at this stage, allowing them to release their aromas and distinctive flavours.
- Deglazing: Deglaze the pot with a splash of wine and scrape up all the flavourful bits
stuck to the bottom. This is called fond, which is packed full of rich flavours. The
alcohol in the wine also helps to extract flavours that water or broth cannot.
- Slow Cooking: Return the meat to the pot, add broth or stock until the ingredients are
just covered, and let it simmer gently. The slow cooking process allows the tough
collagen in the meat to break down into soft gelatin, making the meat tender and the
- Thickening: To achieve a thick, luscious consistency, you may need to add a
thickening agent. You could use a starch, like flour or cornflour, or you could
reducing the stew by simmering it uncovered.
- Seasoning: Before serving, taste your stew and adjust the seasoning. The addition of salt, black pepper, or a squeeze of lemon could bring your stew to the next level.
Remember that the best stews aren't rushed. So take your time, follow these steps, and you'll have a pot of deeply flavourful, comforting stew that's more than worth the wait. Enjoy the process and, more importantly, the delicious end result!