quick dinner help: browning stew beef
I'm making vegetable soup tonight for dinner and want to add stew beef. In times past, I've done this, but after browning the beef, it often turns tough on me. Is there a way I can tenderize it beforehand, or maybe simmer the soup on med-low, which will keep the meat from toughening?
You aren't cooking the beef long enough. Browning the beef beforehand doesn't tenderize it, you are merely developing flavor via the Maillard process. I brown chuck roast cubes(literally, I cube a chuck roast, I don't waste money on pre-cut chuck) prior to making my beef vegetable soup(and other recipes)...it still must cook "low and slow" for up to three hours on the stovetop. If you aren't cooking your soup at a simmer just what temperature do you cook it at? It certainly shouldn't be boiled.
Try to cut the pieces, as much as possible, across the grain. That is, try to keep the fibers in the pieces short.
The alternative to long and slow is the opposite: partially freeze the meat, slice super-thin, and then drop in the boiling soup a minute prior to serving.