Stews are great comfort food. The aromas fill the house, bringing warm thoughts, and satisfying the biggest hungers. A piping hot bowl of simmered meats, seafood, hearty vegetables and other wonderfully flavored ingredients makes stew perfect for any meal of the day.
Stews are fun to make. Fresh ingredients chopped into bite-sized pieces, added to rich, hearty broths, begin to cook immediately and smell incredible. While some stews on this site are not technically stews, the recipes presented are intended to create delicious one-pot meals that can be enjoyed at mealtime and again later as leftovers. Most stew recipes make large quantities, and require a good cast iron or non-stick stockpot for cooking.
Beef stew is a typical countryside meal, almost all over Europe and some countries of North American and Asia too. In short, anywhere the cold gets tough, beef stew does the trick. This recipe for beef stew calls for a whole lot of winter veggies with a leg or shoulder of beef. Alternately, stewing beef can be used. It generally consists of tougher muscles that are great on flavor. The vegetables used in beef stew are almost always the root varieties, which do not completely disappear in the stew since beef takes so long to cook - potatoes, carrots, parsley to name a few. Another thing is, in order to make such a long - cooking dish; it makes a lot of sense to get all the ingredients together before starting on the actual cooking. This not only saves time later on but also prevents culinary mishaps like too much browned potatoes (what some would call burned), or overcooked meats.
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 or beurre mani?, 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. Read more on http://www.medicinenet.com/recipes/article.htm