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Beef Stew

I often make beef stew, and my problem is that when I use relatively lean meat, even though I brown it well and leave the meat in large pieces (2 inch cubes) it still becomes dry during the cooking process. I am careful not to boil the stew as well. Any suggestions?

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  1. Stewed and braised dishes should not be made from lean cuts, it is the collagen breaking down that makes them so tender. Use cubed brisket or chuck or even shoulder, and then de-fat after the stewing, if looking to cut down on fat.

    3 Replies
      1. re: JoannaNYC

        Another option is to use beef shank. Not only is it lean, but it comes loaded with connective tissue that dissolves into the the stock, so you get the rich mouthfeel without the fat. It also usually comes with a cross section of leg bone attached which adds even more richness to the stock. I usually use a 50/50 blend of chuck and shank for most kinds of braised beef dish.

        1. re: RealMenJulienne

          I 2nd this one. Whenever I make beef stew, I look first for the shank. I'll use the 50:50 blend suggested above, but I've also made stew with 100% shank. After cutting off the meat, I roast the bones in the oven, then toss them in the stew for the entire time. The meat itself becomes very tender.

      2. Pressure cooking for 20-25 minutes will work for lean cuts like round or sirloin.

        1. As other comment, best suggestion is not to use lean meat.

          1. + a millionty.

            you need a cut with lots of connective tissue.

            1. My Mom often had to deal with round steak or sirloin that Dad brought home. Tough usually.
              She would Swiss it, and I encourage anyone to to Google a Swiss Steak recipe and try it.

              The tough lean cut is cubed, dredged heavily in flour, and simmered in a bit of stock in a cast iron pan. More stock, wine, or water was added after 15 minutes, and a marvelous gravy forms around the meat.
              If you want a stew, add pre cooked or microwaved vegetable chunks, and serve with rice, noodles or smashed potatoes.

              Not thoroughly tender, but manageable, and comfort food at its best.

              1. Thanks for the suggestions- I will certainly try shank next time

                1 Reply
                1. re: Epicuriouser

                  if the fat in the finished dish is a concern, you can always chill the batch overnight and the fat will congeal in a layer on the surface. just scoop it off.

                2. Are you cooking it long enough?

                  1. Find a 7-bone chuck roast, cut the meat off the bones, cut into cubes of the size you desire. Keep the bones and brown them with the meat. Personally, I find chuck meat just perfect for stew.

                    As mentioned, if you are concerned with fat, prepare the stew in advance, let it cool in fridge, and skim off the fat before re-heating and serving.