Have a stew-pendous weekend!

stewThere’s something wonderfully comforting about the aroma of a simmering pot of stew on the stove. Beyond the soothing psychological benefits of stewing, simmered dishes can be a lifesaver for busy people since they require very little last minute preparation, often use pantry staples and can be reheated when you need them most.

Almost every culture has a repertoire of stews and, no matter what these recipes contain, almost all of them follow the same blueprint for success. Visit www.toptentable for a basic stew recipe that epitomizes the classic stewing method as well as for a few of my other recipes you can try this weekend and freeze for later.)

Ready to give stewing a try? Use these tips to make your next stewing effort a delicious success:

1. Choose less tender cuts of beef such as shoulder, rump, sirloin tip, inside round or chuck.

2. Meat for stewing needs to be well-trimmed of gristle and fat before it’s cut into evenly sized cubes no larger than 2-in (5-cm).

3. Puréed vegetables such as potato, tomato or celeriac can be added to the stew for thickness and to add nutrients and fibre.

4. You need enough liquid to cover the meat entirely but not so much that the meat is lost in the pan.

5. Pan juices should be thick and full-bodied in a good stew. If the meat becomes tender before this happens. Strain off some of the juices, thicken with a little extra flour and cook in a separate saucepan, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Return to stewing pan.

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