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Quick Help - Tough Beef Stew

MMRuth Dec 14, 2007 11:41 AM

I made a beef stew this morning from Lucques - called for boneless beef shortribs but just used beef stew meat from the butcher (no idea of the cut). Cooked it in the oven at 325 for three hours (called for time) and took it out before going out for lunch. Just tasted the meat and it's still tough, with little liquid left. Added a cup of wine and a cup of water and am planning to simmer for a while more - will the meat soften up, do you think?


  1. digkv Dec 14, 2007 11:44 AM

    I think it will get softer. I mean, could it get any tougher? But really, I'm no expert on this but when I've made braises (stews are similar aren't they) the longer I braise the softer it gets.

    1. Pat Hammond Dec 14, 2007 12:02 PM

      I'd sure want to know what kind of cut it is, if it doesn't break down eventually! It certainly should, but it could take another hour and a half or so. Don't let it dry out. Good luck!

      4 Replies
      1. re: Pat Hammond
        MMRuth Dec 14, 2007 12:02 PM

        Thanks - I know it should - maybe I'll ask my husband to stop by the butcher on his way home to ask!

        1. re: MMRuth
          cayjohan Dec 14, 2007 01:23 PM

          Probably the cut is from the chuck, and needs low, slow, moist cooking. Tip in some more wine and water, and be patient. Wonderful flavor. As Pat said, mind the liquid.

          1. re: cayjohan
            MMRuth Dec 14, 2007 01:35 PM

            It's getting better - thanks!

            1. re: MMRuth
              Sam Fujisaka Dec 14, 2007 01:48 PM

              Should be good to go in about an hour more.

      2. p
        polish_girl Dec 14, 2007 01:45 PM

        I usually make a beef stew on the stove top with plenty of liquid in it. Once it is soft (sometimes it takes an hour, sometimes 3 hours) I take off the lid and wait for some of the liquid to evaporate. I do the same with goulash.

        1. MMRuth Dec 14, 2007 02:31 PM

          Thanks all for the reassurance - it's decent now - not my best - keeping my fingers crossed that my husband doesn't drop the Le Creuset as we walk from Madison Ave. to Park Ave.!

          1. paulj Dec 14, 2007 03:54 PM

            With some cuts, long cooking breaks down the calogen connecting fibers, but leaves long fibers relatively intact. I think the best bet in that case, is to cut those chunks across the grain. More cooking doesn't seem to help.


            1. j
              JockY Dec 14, 2007 04:04 PM

              I've always found that "stew" meat is nothing more than scraps left over from various cuts of meat and it doesn't make particularly good stew.
              I'll bet the same recipe made with the short ribs would have been awsome.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JockY
                cayjohan Dec 14, 2007 04:58 PM

                JockY, stew meat in my neck of the woods is typically cubes of chuck (shoulder) and rarely has other cuts. One can ask one's butcher so you're not getting something exceeding dry, or a mix of scraps. The chuck takes some time, but is worth it. BTW, there is a cut just under the chuck called English style chuck short ribs - well worth a try, but hard to get unless you know someone with a steer to slaughter - or have a savvy butcher.

              2. t
                torty Dec 14, 2007 04:59 PM

                Short ribs are such a different cut with their connective tissue and fat that breaks down and makes the meat tender and luscious. Sounds like cooking longer helped you, but next time try the short ribs just to see how great they are. Even bone- in if that is what is available since the meat will slide off the bone

                1 Reply
                1. re: torty
                  MMRuth Dec 14, 2007 05:51 PM

                  Yes - the first time I made this dish, it was with boneless shortribs, and I love making the Balthazar bone in shortrib dish. But this was a bit of a spur of the moment, miserable weather outside, get what you can from the nearest butcher sort of thing. Fortunately, after what I estimate was 5 hrs of cooking - it was delicious.

                2. jfood Dec 14, 2007 05:12 PM

                  three hours seems light on the time, but it should be enough.

                  place in the fridge and it should be more tender when you reheat it. that's been jfood's experience.

                  1. Tom P Dec 15, 2007 08:00 AM

                    I make the Lucques beef stew quite often...in fact, I am making it today...and I always use short ribs on the bone. It adds a bit more flavor. As everyone has said, just keep cooking until they are soft, or falling off the bone. I hope it tasted great.

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