Blueprint Stew the Technique
- 3 1/2 pounds shoulder of beef, pork or lamb, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup vegetable or olive oil, or more
- 24 cups of one, two or more of the following seasoning vegetables, finely chopped: onions, garlic, carrots, celery, or fennel
- Optional tomato ingredients such as 1 1/2 cups or more of crushed tomatoes, tomato puree or 1/4 cup tomato paste
- Bouquet garni, tied up in cheesecloth, 1 to 2 teaspoons of spices or dried herbs, depending upon dominant taste, or bay leaf, parsley and ect.
- 1 quart or more of liquid such as beer, or broth
- Additional seasoning ingredients for sauce like 2 to 4 tablespoons barbecue sauce
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Garnish: separately cooked vegetables, potatoes or beans
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs to finish
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Coat the meat with flour and shake off excess. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Brown the meat, in batches, until browned on all sides. Remove browned meat to a plate. Add seasoning vegetables to remaining oil in casserole, cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until totally tender. Return browned meat to seasoning vegetables with juices that have collected on the plate. Add optional tomato ingredients, bouquet garni and liquid. Season lightly with salt, bring to a simmer, cover and set in oven to cook for about 1 1/2 hours or longer or until meat is fork tender. Remove casserole from oven, remove meat and keep warm, degrease the liquid. Either puree the solids into the liquid to form a thick sauce, or strain the solids out and reduce the sauce until intensely flavored. Add any additional seasoning ingredient (like barbecue sauce) and fresh herbs at last minute. To cook the vegetable garnish, either cook it in the stew liquid before you puree or reduce it, then return the meat to the liquid to rewarm it. Or cook the garnishes separately.
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