Cooking stew may seem like its very time consuming, but its one of the most fuss free recipe that yield amazing results. You can choose to slow cook over stove, pressure cooker, in the oven, or simply in a slow-cooker/crock pot.
Refer below to the rough gauge of each method of cooking time to suit your needs (varies depending on the cut and size of meat):
- Slow-cooker/ Crock Pot (low) : 8- 10 Hours
- Low Heat on Stove: 4-6 Hours
- Oven: 1hr 30mins - 3 Hours
- Pressure Cooker: 20-40 Minutes
Choosing the right cut of beef for stewing is very important. You will wanna use very tough and lean cut as they contain lots of collagen that break down and give you tender fork texture after braising. My favorite type of cut for stews would be beef cheek, that insane amount of collagen in the cheek after braising, that smooth tender texture of cheek totally melts in the mouth!
In this recipe I used topside wagyu cook on low over stove, you can use other cuts but make sure its suitable for slow-cooking. I recommend using red wine for more complex flavor, but beer/stouts will do too. Another handful tip to make very flavorful beef stew which I got from a friend of mine (he's a chef) is by adding a tbs of marmite or bovril while braising, its optional though.
Ingredients - 2 servings - 5 hours
- 700g of topside wagyu (beef cheek will take about 6 - 7 hours)
- 1 onion - cut in to quad chunks
- 1 big carrot / 2 small carrots - cut into bite size chunks
- 1 celery stalk (optional) - cut into bite size chunks
- 5-6 sprigs of thyme
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- 4-6 cloves of garlic, whole lightly crushed
- 1/2 tbs smoked paprika (optional)
- 1 can of beer (substitute w/ red wine or stout)
- 1 tbs of marmite or bovril (optional)
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 1 cup of chicken stock/ beef stock
- a small knob of butter/ 1tbs of cornstarch mix with 1 tbs of water as thickening agent (optional)
- salt and pepper for seasoning of beef. (may need for stew)
- Parsley for garnishing (optional)
Season the meat on both side with salt and pepper. Get ready your casserole stewing pot and start searing the meat with 2 sprigs of thyme. This step is very important as it seals the juice of the meat in so make sure the meat are nicely seared brown on all sides.
After searing, set your meat aside, add in the vegetables and garlic in the same pot and sauteed till fragrant. Add in smoked paprika/paprika and beef back in to the pot then de-glaze the pot with the can of beer.
After de glazing, add in can diced tomatoes, rest of the thyme sprigs, bay leaf, chicken stock and the tbs of marmite. The total amount of liquid should be just about fully submerging the meat but not totally. Set your heat to medium and let it boil for a few minutes.
After boiling, lower your heat, taste and adjust (may need more salt) to the lowest possible with lid half to 3/4 closed, let it braised for 5 hours (Do not fully close the lid, leaving the lid open allows the stock to evaporate that yields concentrated flavorful stew). If you are using oven, bake in the oven at pre heated 180 degrees Celsius for an hour and half. Slow-cooker/ Crock pot settings on low for 8-10 hours. Pressure cooker for 20-40 minutes.
Use a fork or chopsticks to test if your meat is tender and ready to serve. Garnish with parsley or fresh thyme. If you like the stew consistency to be thicker, you can add in a knob of butter as thickening agent, or you can use a tbs of corn starch with water. Note: Traditionally the beef cuts are coated with plain flour before searing so that it act as a thickening agent while braising. I don't like my stew to be too thick so I adjusted my consistency only at the end. So feel free to try out different suggested methods to your taste.
I hope this recipe does give you more insights into cooking a perfect classic beef stew. Feel free to use and try out different suitable slow-cook cut of meat (Highly recommend beef cheek with red wine to impress your guest, braise an extra hour for this recipe). Good luck and enjoy!!!