A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables (such as carrots, potatoes, beans, peppers and tomatoes, etc.), meat, especially tougher meats suitable for slow-cooking, such as beef. Poultry, sausages, and seafood are also used. While water can be used as the stew-cooking liquid, wine, stock, and beer are also common. Seasoning and flavourings may also be added. Stews are typically cooked at a relatively low temperature (simmered, not boiled), allowing flavors to mingle.
Stewing is suitable for the least tender cuts of meat that become tender and juicy with the slow moist heat method. This makes it popular in low-cost cooking. Cuts having a certain amount of marbling and gelatinous connective tissue give moist, juicy stews, while lean meat may easily become dry.
Stews may be thickened by reduction or with flour, either by coating pieces of meat with flour before searing, or by using a roux orbeurre manié, a dough consisting of equal parts of butter and flour. Thickeners like cornstarch or arrowroot may also be used.
Stews are similar to soups, and in some cases there may not be a clear distinction between the two. Generally, stews have less liquid than soups, are much thicker and require longer cooking over low heat. While soups are almost always served in a bowl, stews may be thick enough to be served on a plate with the gravy as a sauce over the solid ingredients.
Serves 6 to 8
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 2 hrs
Ingredients:1 lb of Beef Cubes, I used chuck
1 Large Carrot, diced
1 Onion, chopped
2 Stalks of Celery, diced
5oz of Button Mushrooms, sliced
½ cup of Pear Barley, rinsed
8 cups of Chicken Stock
1 Sprig of Rosemary, minced
2 Sprigs of Thyme, minced
2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
½ cup of all Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp of Fresh Chopped Parsley
¾ cup of Frozen Peas
Salt and Pepper to taste
Method:1) In a large deep pot, preheat the oil over medium high heat. While that’s happening, toss the beef with the flour and a little salt and pepper, shake off excess flour and add the beef in one layer in the hot pot.
2) Allow the beef to cook and develop some color, this should take about 4 to 5 minutes so its colored on all sides, remove the beef with a slotted spoon onto a plate and set aside.
3) In the same pot, add the chopped onion, carrot and celery, season with a little salt and pepper and cook the veggies until they have cooked down a bit, this should take about 5 minutes.
4) Add the beef back in the pot, along with the stock and bring to a boil. Add the herbs, partially cover the pot with a lid, turn the heat down to medium low and allow the soup to cook for 1 hour.
5) After one hour, remove the lid and add the rinsed barley and sliced mushrooms, cook the mixture for another 45 minutes or until the beef is very tender and the barley is cooked.
6) Add the parsley and peas and taste the soup to adjust seasoning if necessary.
7) Serve right away!