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Old 10-16-2011, 04:00 PM   #1
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Beef stew coloration.

I made the Cook Illustrated Best Beef Stew recipe for a party tonight. It tastes SPECTACULAR, however the color just seems to be a little off. It's slightly grey.

Any suggestions to improve this without altering the flavor would be hugely appreciated. Thanks a ton!!



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Old 10-16-2011, 04:22 PM   #2
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A lot of the color issue, "the color just seems to be a little off. It's slightly grey." is most likely due to the meat's not being browned well.

The key to browning properly is high heat and small batches being browned at one time. Get the pot really hot with the fat then add some of the meat. Cubes of meat should be scattered around the bottom of the pan with space between the pieces. Leave the meats undisturbed in the pan. Don't move the meat around and let the cubes get good and dark.

Browned means the color of dark chocolate on all six sides. The gray color that beef turns as soon as it hits a hot pot is not brown, it's gray.

When you're done browning properly, there should be a dark brown coating on the bottom of the pot as well. That will lift off and dissolve into the stew for added color and great flavor later in the process.

Your stew will taste even better than it did when it was gray.

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Old 10-16-2011, 04:28 PM   #3
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To fix it, a little Gravy Master will give the gravy a good rich brown color.

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Old 10-16-2011, 04:30 PM   #4
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I'd brown the meat a little longer. Small batches at a time. With a little bit of vegetable oil.Then add the onions. Cook until the onions have caramelized. try adding a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Omit the flour thickener, use a cornstarch slurry at the very end of the cooking time.

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Old 10-16-2011, 05:12 PM   #5
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MUCH APPRECIATED!!! Hopefully I can do the gravy master trick for now and I'll brown better in the future. Thank you all for the advice.
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Old 10-16-2011, 05:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Zhizara View Post
To fix it, a little Gravy Master will give the gravy a good rich brown color.
Kitchen Bouquet also works very well for coloring.
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Old 10-16-2011, 06:08 PM   #7
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If it isn't too salty already, some soy sauce or wooster sauce will darken it up nicely too. You can also go a slightly different direction and plop in a tbsp of tomato paste to darken the sauce. It'll go a bit more red as opposed to brown, but it won't be gray.

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