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Basic Beef Stew
Basic Beef Stew
Serves 4

You can certainly double or triple the basic recipe and freeze the cooked meat. When re-heating add the flavour of your choice e.g. curry, tomato, mushrooms, etc. Instead of beef use lamb or pork forequarter cuts or chicken thighs.

600-800 g brisket, shoulder of beef, shortrib chuck or shin
2 T (30 ml) Ina Paarman's White Sauce Powder or flour
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups (500 ml) boiling water
4 t (20 ml) Ina Paarman's Beef Stock Powder

Toss the cubed meat with the White Sauce Powder or 2 T (30 ml) of flour mixed with 1 t (5 ml) of our Seasoned Sea Salt. Sprinkle the onion over the base of a cast iron saucepan. Put all the meat on top of the onion. Add the boiling water and Stock Powder. Bring everything to the boil. Turn the stove to its lowest heat and then put a tight lid on the saucepan. Simmer very slowly for 2-3 hours, until the meat is fork tender. Alternatively cook in a slow cooker for 8 hours or in a low oven 160°C for 2˝-3 hours.

flavour variation

basic beef stewBRAISED BEEF WITH TOMATO AND OLIVES

1 x basic beef stew, cooked
6 rashers of bacon, cut into cubes
3 ripe tomatoes
3 carrots, finely sliced
2 potatoes
˝ cup (125 ml) black olives
1 x 200 ml Ina Paarman's Sundried Tomato Coat & Cook Sauce
2-3 t (10-15 ml) Ina Paarman's Garlic Pepper Seasoning

ROSEMARY GARNISH (mix everything together)

2 T (30 ml) finely chopped rosemary
2 T (30 ml) finely chopped parsley
3-4 cloves of crushed garlic
grated rind of one lemon

Crisp the bacon in a non-stick pan. Keep one half on one side to drain on kitchen paper, to use later as garnish. Add the rest to the stew.

Grate the tomatoes and potatoes and add them to the pre-cooked basic stew together with the carrots, olives and Sundried Tomato Sauce.

Cook slowly for 20 minutes until the carrots are tender. Taste for seasoning. Top with the rosemary garnish and crispy bacon. Serve with spaghetti or rice.

other variations: ideas for economical quick fixes

CURRY

To the cooked basic stew add: ˝ bunch of finely sliced spinach, 1 x 200 ml Ina Paarman's Tikka Curry Coat & Cook Sauce, ˝ cup (125 ml) cream. Cook for 5 minutes until spinach is wilted. Add a big handful of roughly chopped fresh coriander. Taste for seasoning.

PERI-PERI

Add 1 x 200 ml Ina Paarman's Peri Peri Coat & Cook Sauce and 4 cubed potatoes to the cooked basic stew. Simmer until potatoes are soft. Season with Green Onion Seasoning. Add a few spoonfuls of plain yoghurt or fresh cream if too hot. Top with chopped parsley, crushed garlic and lemon rind.

MUSHROOM

Sauté 1 punnet of sliced mushrooms in 2 T (30 ml) of butter and season generously with Ina Paarman's Garlic Pepper Seasoning. Chop a handful of rocket leaves or fresh basil leaves and add to the basic stew together with the sauteéd mushrooms.

6 steps to the perfect stew

1. Meat
Select forequarter cuts like brisket, shortrib, chuck or shin. Ask your butcher to cube it for you. I prefer not to buy ready cubed stewing beef because it contains different cuts which may cook for varying lengths of time. Cheaper cuts of meat achieve deep flavour when cooked slowly. They also become tender and juicy if cooked correctly. In the case of bone-in cuts, cube the meat and cook the bones with the meat. The bones give excellent flavour. Excess fat can easily be blotted off with a double layer of kitchen paper or if the meat is cooked the day before and refrigerated the fat can simply be lifted off the next day.

Bone-in Chuck Steak Bone-in Blade Steak

Beef Short Rib Stewing Beef
2. Cooking utensils

Cast Iron Pot with Enamel Finish Simmer Mat

A heavy cast iron saucepan gives great results! If your stove plate or gas flame is too hot - use a simmer mat to help distribute heat evenly. Alternatively use a slow cooker or cook the stew at 160°C in the oven.
Slow Cooker
3. To brown or not ?
Browning is not essential, it is a fallacy that browning seals in the juices. Beef Stock Powder will give all the colour you need and the long slow cooking will develop the flavour. It is a good idea to toss the meat with seasoned flour (or our new White Sauce Powder) before cooking and to cook it on a bed of onion.

Cubed Meat tossed with White Sauce Flour Onion
4. The liquid
Stock is my first choice in which to do the preliminary cooking of the meat. Tomato, reduced wine etc. can always be added later after the meat has been tenderized and when the flavour components are added.

Stock Powders Onion and Stock
5. Flavour additions
In my experience it is best to first simmer the meat until tender and then, to add the aromatics. Now you will have the best of both worlds: Tender meat and fresh flavour. The aroma of the herbs, spices and vegetables are not dissipated with the long slow cooking that has gone before, therefore they retain their fresh taste and aroma.

Fork tender Slow Cooked Forequarter Meat Flavour Options
6. Better the next day
Always allow a stew to rest off the heat for at least 15 minutes, if time permits cook it the day before. Resting further relaxes the meat muscle and restores moisture to the meat.