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making a stew

(46 Posts)
TriciaF Sun 27-Nov-16 17:23:57

When you make a stew/casserole is it best to brown off the meat first, or the veg?
I always start with the veg., and I use several kinds, not just onions. Carrots turnips, celery fennel, tomatoes etc.
Which way do you go, and why?

Ana Sun 27-Nov-16 17:27:27


tanith Sun 27-Nov-16 17:39:49

I usually quickly fry the meat and onions but not the vegs, I find it adds to the flavour although if I'm in a real rush I just chuck it all in the slow cooker with the vegs and stock.

Charleygirl Sun 27-Nov-16 17:41:22

Even if I am using the slow cooker I still brown the meat and onions.

TwiceAsNice Sun 27-Nov-16 17:41:28

I usually brown the meat and then just put all the rest in together and let it cook

kittylester Sun 27-Nov-16 17:43:10

I don't make stews though I might make a casserole!

NanaandGrampy Sun 27-Nov-16 17:51:30

I used M and S tinned steak in my stews . Works a treat ?

Lona Sun 27-Nov-16 17:52:21

kitty That's controversial! grin

Elrel Sun 27-Nov-16 18:13:51

On Mondays I used to make a chicken carcass stew with whatever was around, different each time. Some were delicious and, sadly, unrepeatable, none was less than edible!

Liaise Sun 27-Nov-16 19:54:33

My stews are made from lamb. DH strips a cheap leg of lamb and it goes into a large slow cooker with swede, potatoes, carrots, onions and dumplings. Cook for five hours. Eat two portions and freeze eight. It is even better after freezing. A glass of red wine helps of course!

Liaise Sun 27-Nov-16 20:00:24

Forgot to say I never brown the meat. It doesn't need it. It's just extra work.

ginny Sun 27-Nov-16 20:08:34

I have tried it both ways. Can't say I have noticed any difference..

Daddima Sun 27-Nov-16 20:08:51

My friend, who was a fabulous cook, told me browning was a waste of time, so I stopped doing and didn't notice any difference.

I'm also sure I heard Jamie Oliver say it made no difference.

annsixty Sun 27-Nov-16 20:31:26

Nigella also says don't bother so I don't and it is always good. Always add a glass of red.

vampirequeen Sun 27-Nov-16 20:34:49

I just chuck it all in the slow cooker together. If I'm using the pressure cooker I cook the meat first for 15 mins with onions then chuck in whatever veg I have for another 15 mins. Top up with gravy and Bob's your uncle. However it's nicer to cook it, let it stand and reheat when necessary. Second day stew is even better.

hulahoop Sun 27-Nov-16 20:40:14

I just chuck it all in I like to use beef skirting it's lean and melts in the mouth I don't like
Chewy meat in my stew /casserole there's nothing's ng nicer with mash or Yorkshire puds

ninathenana Mon 28-Nov-16 00:42:55

Liaise please tell me where you buy a cheap leg of lamb.
I brown the meat then chuck everything else in, unless I'm using the turkey and ham leftovers at Christmas which if of course don't need browning. This is H's favourite type of stew.
I agree it always tastes better warmed the next day.

ninathenana Mon 28-Nov-16 00:47:21

hulahoop I know it's personal taste but a stew by definition has to have chunks of potato cooked in it rather than on the side IMHO grin

janeainsworth Mon 28-Nov-16 07:12:51

No that's a hotpot Nina. Stews don't have to have potatoes.
Isn't a cheap leg of lamb an oxymoron?
Oxymoron casserole, there's a posh dish for you kitty grin

ninathenana Mon 28-Nov-16 07:21:57

grin jane I think we'll agree to differ on thiis one.
Round here a hotpot has sliced layers of potato on top. Rather than small whole spuds or half spuds cooked in the liquid with other veg.
Perhaps it's a regional thing.

janeainsworth Mon 28-Nov-16 07:48:27

Yes I agree with you Nina that in a hotpot (is there any other kind than Lancashire, which should be made with the charmingly named 'scrag end'?) the potatoes are sliced and artistically placed on the top and allowed to brown.

I've don't put potatoes in stews/casseroles because I'm always afraid they will overcook and do what my mother used to refer to as 'fall'.
This was sometimes a desirable quality and sometimes not. In a potato pie, if the potatoes 'fell' too much you would end up with a mushy goo instead of discrete pieces of potato.
On the other hand, if apples did not 'fall' during the cooking of an apple pie, that was considered a culinary disaster and that was why Bramleys were the apple of choice for making pies, because of their superior ability to 'fall' as well as their flavour.
Happy Monday everyone sunshine

annsixty Mon 28-Nov-16 08:19:20

Just to divert somewhat, I was recently given some Bramleys for pies and crumbles but they fell so lusciously we ended up eating most of them just with cream.

Anya Mon 28-Nov-16 08:27:02

I only use leftover lamb in a hot pot so it's already cooked and like Nina any potatoes are thinly sliced and on the top. Because we are a low carb family, this means we can have the odd potato (uses very few) or choose not to take any of this layer....though very hard to resist the slightly crispy topping!

Anya Mon 28-Nov-16 08:28:19

Ann I've just done the same. They were delicious and surprisingly filling.

janeainsworth Mon 28-Nov-16 09:42:58

Anya each to their own, obviously, but one of the benefits of using cheap cuts of raw meat with the bone still present is that your hotpot gets all the goodness out of the bones.
Don't ask me to define 'goodness' but I know it's there somewhere grin