Stewing/braising beef is a simple way to get supper to the table. Stewing starts off with less-tender but flavourful cuts of beef and turns them tender using slow moist heat for cooking. Here’s how...
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LEARN how to stew/braise beef in the Step-by-Step Lesson.
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Stewing/Braising Step-by-Step Lesson
- Use a heavy deep pot with tight-fitting lid, such as a Dutch oven or Le Creuset pot or roaster.
- For the best stews, use Canadian beef cut from Blade Steaks or Blade Roasts or Short Ribs. You can cut your own or get the staff at the meat counter staff to do that for you.
- Trim the cubes for leaner beef and keep the stew cube size consistent for even cooking.
– Stews don’t require any fussing while they cook – once they’re in the oven you’re free – they cook by themselves so you can have the whole kitchen cleaned up when guests arrive – perfect for those of us who entertain in the kitchen.
– Beef stews, are great for entertaining since they can be made the day ahead. Stew flavours meld together as it sits so it tastes better next day. Gently re-heat in the oven, microwave or slow cooker to serve.
Browning the Beef
- Heat vegetable oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering.
- Turn the heat down to a medium.
- Pat beef cubes dry to ensure good browning.
- Season cubes with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Brown beef all over in batches, to avoid overcrowding the pan. Turn cubes with tongs to sear beef cubes on all sides. Remove browned beef to a bowl.
- Sprinkle flour over browned beef and toss together - the flour will thicken the sauce.
– Browning the beef before simmering gives beef stew a rich colour and flavour.
– For a stew-like dinner that’s faster to prepare, you can use a Simmering Steak instead of stewing cubes; that way, you have only one piece of meat to brown. Simmer as you would for making a stew
– Overcrowding meat in the pan will cause meat to steam rather than brown.
– You can dredge the beef cubes in seasoned flour before browning if you like – but sprinkling the flour over the browned cubes is easier and less mess.
Cook the Veggies
- Sauté flavourings such as onions and/or garlic or mushrooms in a splash of extra vegetable oil (if necessary) until just softened.
– Onions are cut into wedges lengthwise so they keep their shape in the stew. Onions that are cut crosswise tend to melt down into the background of a stew when they cook.
– If flavourings start to scorch add a splash of water to the pot.
- Deglaze the pot by stirring in wine and/or stock/broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
– The browned bits from browning the beef add lots of beefy flavour to the sauce.
- Return the browned beef and any juices to the pot; add enough broth/stock to just cover the meat. Add the seasoning such as dried thyme and/or bay leaf.
- Bring to simmer. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pot and place in a 325°F oven for an hour-and-a-half until the beef is fork tender. Season to taste.
- Before serving, you can thicken the cooked stew with a bit of cornstarch/cold water mixture if you like. 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp cold water will thicken 1 cup liquid: stir the cornstarch mixture into hot stew; bring to a simmer and stir for 3 to 4 minutes until thickened.
A tight fitting lid and a heavy pot are essential for best braising.
Recipes to Cook: