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Old 02-15-2009, 12:16 PM   #1
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Beef Stew

I cooked up some Beef Stew in a croc pot for about 5 hours. My problem was that the meat was still wasn't as tender as I had hoped. Does that generally mean I should have let it cook it longer? Also, I seared the meat before putting it in.

Someone suggested I use canola oil versus olive oil (which I used). Stating it would sear the meat better because it can cook at a higher tempature. Does it really make that big a difference?

Thanks in advance

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Old 02-15-2009, 12:29 PM   #2
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Depending on how big the chunks were you may simply need to cook it longer. Canola oil and browning aren't the problem. That part was fine.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:42 PM   #3
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Five hours in a crock pot is not as long as it seems, considering that many of them take forever to get up to cooking temp (1 1/2 hrs in my experience). I am sure others will disagree, but I have found a way that works better for me. I chunked the crock pot and bought a similar deep fryer. I then sear the meat in it instead of a skillet, then add my other ingredients and bring to cooking temp, and then turn it to Warm. It is both simpler and faster. Using this method I can have things ready in 5 hours that used to take 7 hours or so, and no extra skillet used.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:58 PM   #4
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I'm not a big fan of crock pots. They're certainly useful if you want to have something cook all day (while you're at work, for example), but otherwise I think there are better ways to prepare stews and so forth.

I would have used a Dutch oven and the stew probably would have been done and the meat very tender in about 2 hours.

As for searing the meat, I use olive oil because I prefer the taste. You don't need to crank the heat up to blast-furnace levels to brown meat properly. Medium to medium-high should do the trick if you leave the meat alone long enough before turning it, usually about 3 or 4 minutes per side. It will come loose from the pan quite easily when it's ready to turn.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:59 PM   #5
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I brown the meat in seasoned flour, pressure cook the meat, then put in the veggies and slow cook it til the veggies are done. Yumm. Sounds so good. I've also had better luck staying away from the pre-cut up "stew meat." It seems inconsistent to me in size, cut, and how it cooks up.
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Old 02-15-2009, 01:10 PM   #6
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What I have found that often works for me in "Crock Pot-type" recipes is to use the dutch oven and then just put it in the regular oven at about 225* for appx the same amount of time. At 225* an hour more doesnt seem to matter. I use that method in the fall and winter when I dont mind the additional heat. Spring and Summer I use the deep fryer method as it doesnt generate as much heat in the room.
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Old 02-15-2009, 01:11 PM   #7
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I agree about not buying the pre-cut, too. I always buy a roast and cut it like I want.
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Old 02-15-2009, 01:17 PM   #8
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Speaking of searing .... do y'all use the 'Flour and Sear' method or sear plain ?? I use the flour method.
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Old 02-15-2009, 01:52 PM   #9
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Speaking of searing .... do y'all use the 'Flour and Sear' method or sear plain ?? I use the flour method.
I do both, depending on what I'm making.
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:45 AM   #10
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I season and dust with flour and pan sear the meat. I also buy the whole roast and cut it up into uniform chunck. Plus, it's cheaper to buy it that way. They make you pay for the time they spend cutting the meat.

After pan searing, adding stock and vegetables, it shouldn't take more than two hours simmering on a low fire.
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:08 AM   #11
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Speaking of searing .... do y'all use the 'Flour and Sear' method or sear plain ?? I use the flour method.

If you flour it you are searing the flour and not the meat, which defeats the purpose, IMO. You need direct contact between pan and meat for the Mallaird Reaction to fully do its magic.

You can always add the flour separately if you need to.
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:19 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by marvinq View Post
I cooked up some Beef Stew in a croc pot for about 5 hours. My problem was that the meat was still wasn't as tender as I had hoped. Does that generally mean I should have let it cook it longer? Also, I seared the meat before putting it in.

Someone suggested I use canola oil versus olive oil (which I used). Stating it would sear the meat better because it can cook at a higher tempature. Does it really make that big a difference?

Thanks in advance
I would think cooking times depends on the type/size, of beef used in your recipe.Some cuts will require a longer cooking time.

Here's my recipe.I usually double it and take some to my neighbors.Or freeze some for my lazy days use.I'd also suggest that before you add the cornstarch (for your thickener) that you adjust the seasonings to your liking.

Beef Stew


5 pounds of stew meat 2"inch chunks
Olive oil
10 small russet Potatoes
1 whole yellow onion
5 carrots
1 large green bell pepper
2 Bay leaves
4 cups beef boulion.or beef broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoon of kitchen bouquet
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/4 cup cornstarch
Water as needed


In a large skillet or roasting pan,add the olive oil.stew meat.Cook on medium heat,brown stew meat on all sides.
Remove from heat,and transfer to a large roasting pan,or stock pot. Add Worcestershire sauce,kitchen bouquet, beef boulion.or beef broth,plus 2 cups of water to the browned stew meat. Add oregano,parsley,paprika,salt & pepper,and bay leaves.
Cover and simmer on low for 2 hours.Checking often.Add more water if necessary

Wash and peel potatoes,then cut them into quarters.
wash and peel carrots cut into 1/2" inch chunks.
Peel and cut onions to 1/4" inch pieces.
wash and take out the seeds from the bell peppers,cut into 1/4 inch chunks.

If the meat is tender add all the veggies,to the stew meat.

Cook until they are all fork tender,about 2 hours.

Bring the stew to a boil,stirring often.
In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and 1/2 cup water.
Stir to remove any lumps.Add to the boiling stew.
Stir,until the stew is thickened to your preference.Add more cornstarch if necessary.

Remove from heat.

Serves 8


Good luck

Munky.
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:40 PM   #13
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Was the crockpot on high or low? Also how big was the meat chunks? And what cut of meat was it?
I sear my meat sans flour. If I want to thicken my stew I add a black roux.
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Old 02-28-2009, 06:32 PM   #14
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For those using the oven method, do you determine when to add potaotoes and veggies by the doneness of the meat? I'm not a crock pot fan for stew and it's really hard to keep a low simmer without watching it constantly.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-28-2009, 06:40 PM   #15
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For those using the oven method, do you determine when to add potaotoes and veggies by the doneness of the meat? I'm not a crock pot fan for stew and it's really hard to keep a low simmer without watching it constantly.

Thanks in advance.
I would.Adding the veggies too soon will just have them over cooked and mushy.and the meat not tender enough.

Crock pot stews don't work for me either.


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Old 02-28-2009, 08:11 PM   #16
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The crucial ingredient are the potatoes. Add them last, just after the carrots. I check the meat to see if it is tender enough, before it starts to fall apart. That is when I add the carrots, then the potatoes.

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Old 02-28-2009, 09:48 PM   #17
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I sear my meat sans flour. If I want to thicken my stew I add a black roux.[/quote]

I always flour mine and then brown it. To me if I do not do that the gravy never has that deep rich flavor that I want. Browning the flour with the meat does more than thicken it .... it adds great depth of flavor.
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:52 PM   #18
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If you flour it you are searing the flour and not the meat, which defeats the purpose, IMO. You need direct contact between pan and meat for the Mallaird Reaction to fully do its magic.

You can always add the flour separately if you need to.
Perhaps then, it is the browned flour flavor that I prefer, as it does not taste right to me if I skip that step.

Adding flour later does indeed thicken it, but it never has the right flavor, in my estimation.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:40 PM   #19
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Some roasts are just more tender than others...and I am not talking about the cut...I'm talking about the animal.
Kim's had good luck lately buying Angus Choice beef at Sam's.
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