Don't think beef stew is the only use for stew meat. Stew meat is simply a tough, lean cut of meat, but with slow cooking, it can be used as you'd use roast beef. Toss it in the cooker in the morning and by dinnertime it's tender and flavorful.
Of course, beef stew is the obvious choice for stew meat, but don't stop there. Beef stew becomes beef burgundy with the addition of bacon, mushrooms and red wine. Delete the carrots and potatoes and add chilies and beans for a hearty chili. Fill a pie crust with beef stew and top it with mashed potatoes and cheese for shepherd's pie. Season it with dry ranch dressing for a different take on stroganoff.
Stew meat needs a long simmering time to tenderize it, so soups are an ideal use. Pair stew meat with tortellini, beef broth, seasonings and a jar of spaghetti sauce for a fast and easy minestrone. Add cut up vegetables about 20 minutes before the meat is tender. Simmer stew meat with rice and vegetables. Many soups taste better the next day, so make enough for leftovers. Keep leftovers interesting by adding dried seasoning mix.
Cooked stew meat makes an excellent base for sandwiches and fast meals. Pair it with sauteed onions, peppers and peppercorn dressing, or combine it with chilies, cheese and salsa for beef burritos. Try stew meat in pitas with humus and cucumbers or on buns with barbecue sauce.
While browning stew meat isn't absolutely necessary, it adds flavor by caramelizing the meat's surface. Heat the meat with a bit of oil and cook it until all sides are brown before placing the stew meat in a slow cooker set on low or medium. Stew meat is often less expensive than roast beef and the small pieces save prep time and cook more quickly, as well.
- "Barefoot in Paris"; Ina Garten; 2004
- "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker"; Beth Hensperger, et al.; 2004
- Fine Cooking; Browning Meats; Brian Geiger; December 2010
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