October 31, 2018
Stewing beef is an easy cut to braise; similar to stewing, braising is a low, slow cooking method, utilizing some liquid—stock, broth, beer, wine or even tomatoes with their juices. The long, gentle cooking can be done on the stovetop or in the oven, and allows the meat to break down and become meltingly tender. Brown the cubes first for added flavour, cover and cook in the oven at 300˚F for a couple hours, or on low in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours, adding veggies for the last half hour to keep them from breaking down too much.
When you use this basic technique, you can customize your stews, adding winter vegetables like carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, turnips, potatoes and even winter squash or halved Brussels sprouts, along with hardy herbs like rosemary and thyme, to suit your taste. If you’re doing it in the oven, check on it occasionally, and add a little more liquid—even water—if it seems too dry.
Braised Beef Stew
canola or olive oil, for cooking
1-1 1/2 lb beef stew meat
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2-3 cups beef or chicken stock
1 cup red wine or beer (optional)
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. tomato paste (optional)
1 pkg Calgary Co-op fresh stew mix
Preheat the oven to 300˚F. In a heavy braising pot or Dutch oven, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and brown the beef in batches, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Once the meat is all browned, return it all to the pot and sprinkle with the flour, stirring to coat.
Add the stock, wine or beer until the liquid almost covers the meat. Add the balsamic vinegar, tomato paste (if using) and toss in a sprig of rosemary from the stew mix package. Cover and bake for 2 hours, then stir in the stew mix and return to the oven (covered or uncovered, if you’d like it to thicken a bit) for another half an hour, until the vegetables are tender.
- Julie Van Rosendaal
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