Tips-y Tuesdays: Better Beef for Slow-Cooking and Stews

I read lots of tips and suggestions, but not all of them pan out. That’s why I wanted to share this one with you all. Basically, I read in a recipe from The Food Lab that you should do the opposite of what many recipes say to do with beef…and after trying it multiple times in different recipes, it has worked amazingly well each time!

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Now, this is a tip specifically for slow cooking or stews. I feel like I need to go back through all of my old recipes and redo them now, but let’s be honest…I don’t have time for that. So, this is what I plan on doing for all future (and past) recipes using beef…

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Instead of cutting up the beef first, and then browning each side…

  1. Cut off any excess fat around the edges, as well as remove the silvery skin stuff, if you have it. You don’t need to do this perfectly because you can clean it up later.
  2. Get your pot/pan nice and hot and prepare your beef however your recipe wants you to do it (salt/pepper/other seasoning).
  3. Brown only 2 sides (top and bottom) of your piece of meat. That’s it! Be sure your pan is hot enough to sear the sides. It is important to not “cook” the meat yet, just build some flavor.
  4. When the meat is cool enough to handle, cut into 2-inch sized pieces, again trimming excess fat. You want the pieces larger than bite-size so that, again, they won’t overcook (and also to have nice meaty chunks in your dish). They will be more tender in the final product, and you shouldn’t even need a knife to break them apart when eating.
  5. Continue with your recipe as written.

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That’s it! So easy. It’s way easier to brown the meat and faster! You don’t have to worry about batches upon batches to keep the pot hot enough for proper browning. Previously, I’ve had trouble not getting the beef mostly cooked when I’ve done the small pieces and browned each side. This style just makes more sense to me. I also like the tenderness of the meat in the final dish. Both K and I noticed a big difference each time I did it.

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