Photo: Mark Bonica via VisualHunt Stews are a frugal person's best friend. There's nothing more satisfying to a penny-pincher than scores of single-bowl meals made with the cheapest cuts of meat. Stew is easy, but to get the best flavours, stew meat needs a little extra care. Here are some tips.
The following tips come courtesy of The Kitchn. Combined, they will help to elevate your stew to the next level.
Sear it well. I love a dump-and-go slow-cooker recipe as much as the next lazy person, but don't believe a recipe that says you can skip this step. Taking the time to sear a good, brown crust onto your meat is extremely worth it, giving you lots of rich, umami flavours that will be imparted to the whole stew.
Cook it low and slow. It's what "stew" means when you make it a verb, after all, and it's what does these cheap cuts of meat best. Whether it's a slow-cooker, a stovetop pot over low heat, or a dutch oven in the oven itself, find a cooking method that gives the collagen in these tough cuts plenty of time to break down. (OK, you can cheat on this with a pressure cooker. Go ahead.)
Save acid for the end. Tender cuts of meat do well with a tangy marinade, but according to The Kitchn, acid makes stew meat take longer to get tender. Wine should be fine, but this warning goes beyond vinegar — hold off on adding tomatoes to stew until near the end, too.