Frequently Asked Questions
What is stew, exactly?
The basic definition of stew, according to the American Heritage Dictionary is “a dish cooked by stewing, especially a mixture of meat or fish and vegetables with stock.”
How is stew different from soup?
When vegetables are simmer slowly over a long period of time, they release their starches, resulting in a thick gravy-like sauce that so many of us associate with stew. The meat is coated in flour before searing, which also contributes to stew’s thickness. Broth-based soup recipes skip these extra steps, resulting in a thinner, lighter consistency.
Can I skip the step of browning the beef?
You certainly could, but why?! Much of the flavor of a “brown” beef stew comes from a good sear of the meat, and the tasty bits that form in the pan when the meat is cooking. Skipping the browning step will essentially result in a “white stew,” which is perfectly fine, but trust us, searing the beef is worth it! (See RULE #2).
How do you store beef stew leftovers?
If you have leftovers of your beef stew, be sure to refrigerate them within 2 hours of the end of the cooking time. To help the leftover stew cool more quickly, divide it into several smaller containers before refrigerating. The USDA recommends leftovers be kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for 3 to 4 months.
To reheat, thaw frozen leftovers in the refrigerator or in the microwave. You can also reheat the stew on the stovetop. Cook it until the meat’s internal temperature has reached 165°F.
What methods can you use to cook beef stew?
Our recipe calls for cooking in the slow cooker, but traditionally beef stew is cooked in a Dutch oven on the stovetop. Another method is to simmer it in a heat-proof pot in your oven. Each method employs slightly different cooking times and temperatures, so be sure to read your through your recipe once before you begin.
Where did stew originate?
Stews in many different styles are eaten all over the world and have been around since ancient times. It is most often associated with French cuisine.
Historically, depending on the style of the stew, everyone from peasants to royalty have enjoyed stew. The French boeuf bourguignon—a favorite beef dish of the late Julia Child—is a fancier version of beef stew, and is considered appropriate to serve for company.