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Flank steak in beef stew?

Dinner tonight is supposed to be a beef stew with summer vegetables. It was originally going to be a veal stew, but apparently no butcher in town sells any veal besides chops and scallopine. I sent the husband to the market to get meat for the stew, and he came back with flank steak. He says that the butcher told him it would be great in stew (this is also the same guy who if given a grocery list asking for a 14.5 oz can of chopped tomatoes will come back with a 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes EVERY.SINGLE.TIME). Really? It seems to me like flank steak is too lean for stew meat. What do you think?

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  1. The beef council people recommend using lean beef for stew. It's hard to find beef with much fat on it these days, anyway.

    1. Personally, I wouldn't use flank steak in a beef stew. But what is great about humanity, is our diversity. Change the menu. Marinate the flank steak (I like a Korean or southeast asian marinade), and grill it. Thin slices, against the grain. If you can't adapt to circumstances, and have to make a stew (in the middle of this hot summer), cube it. I'd recommend small cubes. The flank steak has a lot of flavor, and would probably work.

      1. The Butcher said Flank Steak would be great in a stew dish?........

        I would find a new Butcher. In my opinion, Flank is a good choice for grilling or stir frys only. Stews need time for the ingredients to meld together and chuck cubes are usually chosen from the shoulder for most recipes. Short Ribs and Oxtails are another good choice for stews. Using flank, even with a crock pot or pressure cooker seems like a waste of money. Long slow cooking breaks down the meat. I would imagine cooking Flank Steak for a long time would make it extremely dry.

        1 Reply
        1. re: fourunder

          It was not so much the butcher, as the guy behind the meat counter at Whole Foods. We have a good butcher nearby that I should have sent him too.

        2. If you want your flank steak to have the texture of shoe leather, by all means use it in your stew. Otherwise, change plans.

          1. Flank steak in beef stew?

            Hmm, more like leather baseball glove in beef stew ...

            1. Devil's advocate, I've used flap meat and flank in chili before and it turns out fine. You have to adjust the cooking time though as the cubed meat will be smaller than the size recommended in most recipes.
              is an example from a favorite blogger of mine.

              1 Reply
              1. re: rockfish42

                I took a look at that chili recipe with a discerning eye. I grew up eating Texas chile that includes no beans and no tomatos. I have to say, I like what I see, and I'm going to try it. The winning Texas chili recipes that I've seen use dry, powdered spices, beef (tri-tip has really caught on because of it's wonderful flavor), and broth. That's it. As time has moved on, and my stomach is less able to handle that, I've experimented with tomatoes and beans. If any of my Texas friends ever heard about that, they'd show up at my house with torches and pitchforks. I especially like the idea of the 3 dried chilis, and the chipotles. That has to be better than the dried spices that Texas chili uses. And, the chili powder I'd recommend, to keep handy for adjustments, is the Chimayo red, from northern New Mexico. One change I'd make after heating the chilis on an iron skillet would be to hydrate them for an hour, run them through the blender, with some of the soaking water, and the garlic, and then through the sieve to weed out those pesky skins. Never thought I'd try a "California chili" recipe, but this looks like a recipe that could "turn" a "hardcore" Texas chili conoisseur. I'll let you know how it turns out. I'm excited!!

              2. Perhaps not such a nice butcher.Flank,skirt and flap all command premium $$$ here on the east coast.These are not premium cuts,just very popular.Demand is pushing the price.
                Veal shoulder,breast and beef chuck/shoulder command half the $ per pound as
                compaired to flank etc.Maybe the spouse is a bit trod on by the seller.Pushing a sale
                for the sake of inventory is not rare enough.
                Or a meat cutter that can't cook.I have one.Once we got passed surly when I placed
                my first "special" request all was ok.Now when the request is "new" to him in some way out he comes with the 5x8 card and he wants to know the tecnique/method/
                recipe from start to finish.So if I want four of ? and only four sides in the walk in,I gird myself for perhaps three.This now quite nice young man wants the fourth to cook for
                his family.I am to understand most folks don't have a smooth relationship with him.He
                would sell my spouse or neighbor ANYTHING he could pull off still today.

                I think you need a change of plan with flank steak.Something that outwits the "chew"

                1. Thanks all. The flank steak ended up marinated and grilled tonight over polenta. I am going to repurpose the veggies from the stew recipe into some other dishes this week.

                  1. The Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook has a recipe for Ragu Bolognese which uses skirt steak. I'm going to give it a try when I have a few hours to spare.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: greedygirl

                      I made it and it was delicious, with a richness and depth of flavour that would be hard to beat. It does take a good couple of hours to make though.

                    2. Hey, don't give up on the flank steak beef stew idea until you search for recipes for "matambre". This is a Latin-American recipe for a whole stuffed flank steak stewed in wine, beef stock and spices. It can be stuffed with exotic things like dried fruits, chile peppers, carrots, hard boiled eggs, chorizo, etc.. The bottom line is that it comes out moist and tender!!!

                      Give it a try!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: HSBSteveM

                        also in the Latin theme, ropa vieja is often made with flank steak.

                        1. re: scubadoo97

                          I agree with scubadoo...I braise flank steak Cuban style all the time and it comes out excellent. Just need to be sure not to go too long....2 hours maximum for 2 decent size flank steaks. For a quick Ropa Vieja simply dump in a few cans of RoTel tomato/chili and a couple cans of beef broth and braise. Result is a very stringy and savory "pulled beef" that goes very nicely over rice or in a taco shell. My biggest problem is that I keep munching on the shreds before it ever gets into the serving dish. So don't change butchers....11 million Cubans would agree with him ! :)

                      2. why not sear off the flank steak till it's medium rare, then remove it from the pan and proceed with your stew like normal except use it as a sauce?

                        1. Flank steak is the only beef we ever use in our stew. The flavour is so much better than stewing beef. I always get so many compliments on my stew. Your butcher did not steer you wrong. It has so much flavour. Try it and you will never use another meat in you stew again. Yes it is more expensive but worth every penny.