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Do I dredge the beef chunks before browning for beef stew?

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I havent't made beef stew for a while....none of the recipes I looked at have you dredge the beef first. That feels wrong to me since I want the dredging to help thicken up the liquid later. Is there a reason I shouldn't dredge it first?

Thanks for any advice!

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  1. if you want a thick rich sauce, dredge; if you want a thin clear sauce don't dredge. also if you plan to skim fat, it is a little bit easier and more effective to do if you don't dredge.

    1. I'm no beef stew expert, but when I have made pot roast or swiss steak in the past.....any recipe I followed called for seasoned flour before browning. I would dredge first.

      1. I've been using a Cook's Illustrated recipe for several years. No dredging.
        Meat is browned w/salt and pepper in a little oil, then removed. Veggies sauteed in the same pan. Add about 1/3 cup flour to the veggies and let the flour brown a bit. Then add the wine and water or stock, put the beef back in, add seasoning and cook in a low oven for about 3 hr.
        The sauce created is just right, not too thick. And the meat browns better without the dredge.

        3 Replies
        1. re: iluvcookies

          Ahhh....I like this approach. This is what I'm going to do. Yum yum! Thanks.

          1. re: nojunk

            You are quite welcome :) It's easy and tastes good... enjoy!
            I actually have a batch in the fridge, it keeps for a few days and tastes good reheated. I add a package of coarsely chopped baby bella mushrooms in the last hour of cooking and they complement the meat nicely.

          2. re: iluvcookies

            Yup, exactly how I like to do it. Consistently good results and a tasty stew.

          3. You could do either.
            But, I don't dredge much, the residual flour can burn (especially if browning in batches, flour from the first batch stays in the pan throughout all batches.) and ruin the pan for deglazing or any other flavor.

            1. I don't dredge either, and don't add flour at any point. Usually grate in a little potato if it doesn't thicken up enough with the carrots and onion....I use a lot of onion.

              1. I use both methods on occasion and find either acceptable. I like the results a little better if I dredge the meat and brown off in batches. If I'm feeling lazy I just dump it all in the pot at once, un-dredged.

                1. "Do I dredge the beef chunks before browning for beef stew?"

                  yes