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Old 03-23-2006, 07:24 AM   #1
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Breading stew beef, yes or no?

I was taught to cook beef stew by first dredging the meat in flour, with a mixture of salt and paprika.

Someone came over for dinner and was amazed that I coated the stew. He said he liked the dish but had never heard of breading and browning the meat.

I pressed him on which way he thought was better, and he just said they were too different to really compare.

Any thoughts?

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Old 03-23-2006, 07:46 AM   #2
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I do sometimes and not. It helps to thicken the juices. I don't think it makes much difference in the taste at all.
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Old 03-23-2006, 08:00 AM   #3
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Well I would not call that breading, but yes I have always dredged my stew meat in flour as well. Like Gretchen said, the reason is to thicken the stew. You could just as easily add the flour to the pot at a different time in the process and get the same results.
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Old 03-23-2006, 08:30 AM   #4
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Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

But I agree if it makes a difference in the taste I can't detect it.
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Old 03-23-2006, 08:30 AM   #5
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browning the meat is a given if you want rich flavor. coating with flour and browning is standard for about 1/2 the recipes...it automatically thicken the gravy.
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Old 03-23-2006, 09:03 AM   #6
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I make my stew in the crock pot - I don't brown or dredge.
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Old 03-23-2006, 10:23 AM   #7
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You're dusting the meat with flour, not breading. This aids in the browning process and serves to thicken the sauce as well.

It's not necessary but adds a little extra to the dish.
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Old 03-23-2006, 10:42 AM   #8
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As some others have stated, sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. Usually if the meat is thawed, I dredge, if it is frozen, I don't. But I do add flour later to thicken the gravy, if the veggies don't thicken it enough. I don't think the taste is different either. The main point is to brown the meat so the flavor is full.
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Old 03-23-2006, 11:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michelemarie
I make my stew in the crock pot - I don't brown or dredge.
Same here.
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Old 03-23-2006, 11:36 AM   #10
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I always brown because that's the key to deep meaty flavor (the Maillard reactionand all).

But I stopped flouring my meat because I thought the meat seemed a bit slimy on the tongue, especially when I did a direct taste test.

I like my stew/pot roast better just braising the browned meat and then thickening by reduction and Wondra.
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Old 03-23-2006, 12:11 PM   #11
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I do it both ways, depending on the kind of mood I'm in. I think I like it better when I just brown the naked meat and add the flour later in a slurry with a little water. The gravy turns out smoother.
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Old 04-14-2007, 03:17 AM   #12
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I always used to flour the meat first, but I found that the flour can burn if you are browning in a nice hot pan, and to tell the truth I'm a bit against the willy-nilly addition of flour these days. If a stew doesn't look like it's going to thicken enough I'll generally either add some breadcrumbs (they dissolve in no time and thicken up nicely with no risk of raw flour flavour) or I'll take some of the veg and give it a quick whizz in a blender.
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Old 04-14-2007, 06:40 AM   #13
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Wink

I always dredge and flour lightly first (shaking off any extra, this is what burns in the pan), browning over med.high heat, but still may have to thicken the stew later. Just my preferance.
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Old 04-14-2007, 07:08 AM   #14
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Barb, that is the way I do it also. I've never had a problem with thickening as long as I use the right amount of liquid.
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Old 04-14-2007, 08:13 AM   #15
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I always flour the meat and add whatever spices I'm using at the same time. I don't always brown it and it always comes out just as good. I absolutely love stew with dumplings, so if I've made it in the slo cooker I tip it into a saucepan for the last 20 mins and add the dumplings. ( No-wonder I look like a dumpling!)
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:23 AM   #16
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Over the years I have used both methods. Finally coming to the conclusion that I prefer to NOT flour prior to browning. My goal in browning stew meat is to brown the meat itself extracting as much blood and goo out of the meat as possible. I do this over a high BTU outdoor burner. If this "stuff" is not removed at this point it will show up in the pot as scum. Which can be skimmed off if you see it. I also run the meat through a collander to wash off excess fats/oils etc. So I go to the pot with browned meat with as little fat and fat soaked flour as possible. Admittedly, Some fat and browned flour are added back later in the process in the form of roux to make the gravy. Using this method I have total control over the contents, color, and flavor of the thickening agent.

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Old 04-15-2007, 12:44 PM   #17
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My mom taught me how brown stew meat in flour seasoned with garlic powder and black pepper, thus adding flavor to the meat and the dish. It is my understanding also that when you brown or braise meat it helps seal in the juices and the flavor. I have also not browned the stew meat and my stew did not turn out as good as with browning. I have never had dredging in flour to cause the meat to become slimy. So, my vote is for dredging in flour and seasonings and browning the meat.
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Old 09-20-2008, 09:06 AM   #18
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I also dredge in flour and brown in oil to increase the flavor. I have never experienced sliminess in my stews.
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Old 10-18-2008, 06:08 AM   #19
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There's definitely two camps on this one. Just to throw in my .02, I brown the meat (sirloin) on all 6 sides without flour. Then I deglaze the pan with red wine. If I can't wait long enough for it to reduce, I put just enough flour in to give it some body.
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Old 10-18-2008, 06:35 AM   #20
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I've read elswhere on this site that paprika should not be subjected to the high heat used to brown meats. I think flouring the meat before browning facilitates the browning process and absorbs some of the meat juices that would otherwise be stuck on the bottom of the cooking vessel and subjected to undue heat until the pot is deglazed.

Perhaps the paprika is better introduced about 1/2 way through the cooking process.
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