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how do make stew?

(23 Posts)
Booyhoo Fri 08-Mar-13 16:42:07

i'm doing it in the slow cooker. i have casserole beef chunks, potatoes, carrots and onions and a beef stock pot. do i just brown the meat, chop the veg and then whack everything in the SC on low overnight?

sorry if this is a really stupid question but i've never done it before.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 08-Mar-13 16:48:33

Just marking my place as my stew never turns out very nice in the slow cooker.

fergoose Fri 08-Mar-13 16:49:51

no need to brown, be v stingy with the liquid, add bit of cornflour too to thicken if needed.

Booyhoo Fri 08-Mar-13 16:58:30

oh yes! liquid- you mean water? how much do i add? do i need to mix the stock pot with the water before adding to the pot or can it just go inwith everything else?

craftynclothy Fri 08-Mar-13 17:03:21

I don't bother browning. I like a fair bit of liquid on mine so probably put a bit too much in (no idea how much but I know where to fill to on my gravy boat). You definitely want a lot less than if you were doing in on the hob/in the oven.

I tend to add some cornflour (mixed with a little cold water) about an hour or so before it's finished - that's just when it's convenient for me.

Meemawandmoonpie Fri 08-Mar-13 17:05:07

Season beef with salt, pepper and flour and brown in pan. Add to casserole dish, slightly brown some chantenay carrots, and button mushrooms. Add to casserole dish. Add 1 beef stock cube, add beer if wanting. Add about 500 ml of water. Put in oven for 3 hours (or on slow cooker for more), 30 mins before add the dumplings. Voila. 30 mins later, a delicious meal and better to use cheaper cuts too on slow cooking. This is just a basic recipe from waitrose so you can tailor it as you go along. Hope this helps.

sleepyhead Fri 08-Mar-13 17:10:40

I know loads of people have great success just bunging everything into the slow cooker, but all the nicest slow cooked stews I've made were started on the hob to brown & heat through and then put in the slow cooker to actually cook. It means that you get a proper thickened gravy.

So, I just do what I'd normally do for putting something in the oven: sweat any veg in some butter or oil (eg onion, chopped carrot & celery), add the meat and brown, add a spoonful of flour and cook through, add the liquid and bring to simmer, make sure you scrape any crusty bits off the bottom of the pan and pour into the slow cooker, cook for however many hours you want.

It does give you one more pot to clean, but I was fed up with thin juices and so-so flavours, so it works for me. Also gives things a head start if you've not got hours & hours of cooking time as everything goes in hot.

sleepyhead Fri 08-Mar-13 17:12:27

You could of course just bung the pan in the oven for a few hours and skip the slow cooker all together, but we're ovenless <sob> at the moment so the slow cooker has been a godsend, and I do think it does a better job of keeping things moist.

Booyhoo Fri 08-Mar-13 17:16:44

thank you all, these are great. the only thing is. i have no flour, just cornflour. is the flour essential?

FireOverBabylon Fri 08-Mar-13 17:21:50

soften your onions before you put them in or they'll still be crunchy at the end. Bog standard flour is ok, but you might want to stir it into a couple of spoons of water and stir that into the stew, rather than just put the flour in.

Activ Fri 08-Mar-13 17:30:27

IMO almost anything made in a slow cooker is improved with a handful of lentils. they absorb the liquid and prevent it from being watery (and make the meat go further smile )

PearlyWhites Fri 08-Mar-13 17:34:17

Do the lentils have to be pre cooked or can you just chuck them in raw?

sleepyhead Fri 08-Mar-13 17:36:42

If you're using cornflour as a thickener then you need to mix it with a little liquid first and then you can add it near the end of cooking.

If you're using normal flour as a thickener then stir it in to the meat/veg/fat and cook for a couple of mins before adding the liquid. If you add the liquid before the (normal) flour it'll go lumpy.

Booyhoo Fri 08-Mar-13 17:40:01

thank you. i have no lentils (really have very little by way of a stock cupboard beyond chopped tomatoes and dried pasta) but i'm working on it.

Activ Fri 08-Mar-13 17:41:08

Just throw the lentils in as they are, if they're cooked, they've already absorbed water. I use the little red ones.

Pollykitten Fri 08-Mar-13 17:50:06

you can also thicken with a handful if oats & beer makes a nice stock

MousyMouse Fri 08-Mar-13 17:50:34

I often (well once a month) I make goulash

1 pound casserole beef
1 small tin tomatoes
1 onion
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon paprika powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 punnet mushrooms
3 peppers

I don't use a slow cooker so don't know if this would be too much liquid, but I just throw everything in a big pot and bring to a boil, then simmer for about 2 hours then adding the peppers for another half hour or so.

PearlyWhites Fri 08-Mar-13 19:01:04

That's nice and easy will buy some lentils then sound a cheap easy way to bulk up stew

BertieBotts Fri 08-Mar-13 19:03:06

Chuck some alcohol in if you have any - red wine or beer is good, cider at a pinch.

Also a large dollop of dijon mustard gives it a nice flavour I think.

wannabedomesticgoddess Fri 08-Mar-13 19:07:21

Last week I made stew but left the potatoes out as I heard they dont work so well in the SC.

800g beef
1 onion
4 carrots
1 pack mushrooms
2 stock cubes
500ml water
glug of worstershiresauce
sprinkle of italian seasoning
1 tbsp of raspberry jam (redcurrant jelly better but I had none)
1 tbsp tomato puree
enough plain flour to coat the beef.

Chopped the veg, coated the beef in flour, bunged everything in the SC and cooked for 8 hours.

Next time I would cook it ten hours, but it was really lovely. Served with mash!

Booyhoo Fri 08-Mar-13 19:23:42

ooh thanks for all these. i'm going to leave it tonight and run down to the shop in the morning for some extras and do it tomorrow.

tigerlilygrr Sun 10-Mar-13 16:35:07

Watching this thread as I cannot get the hang of slow cooker stew!

HappyAsASandboy Sun 10-Mar-13 16:56:12

I make great stew (and I'm modest about it too!). I bung in any carrot/swede/sweet potatoe/pumpkin type veg I have, but I think the real trick is to use leeks instead of onions. They're much sweeter than onions.

I would use about 4 leeks with 1kg casserole steak. Brown the steak, then sweat the leeks in a big frying pan, adding chopped carrots/sweet potatoe etc to warm it through ( keep pumpkin back - it only needs to be chucked in the slow cooker an hour or so before its finished). Then chuck veg on top of meat, stir it all together and add a pint of stock, two beef oxo cubes and a bit of marmite/lee & perrins.

Cook for at least 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low (or some reasonable combo of the two, to have it ready on time smile

Good luck!

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