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Zone36's avatar

How do I make beef for stew soft?

Asked by Zone36 (408 points ) December 15th, 2010

I made a stew yesterday, but I didn’t put in enough beef. I want to add more today, but I don’t want to add it to the stew and have to cook it again.

I want to be cook the beef separately and then add it to the stew after it is cooked. How can I do this and have each chunk of beef nice and soft.

I was thinking I would fry the beef chunks on high heat and get a nice sear on the outside. The inside would still be raw. After I would put it in a pot of water and soy sauce on the lowest heat and cook it for 15minutes. Then just let it sit. Will this be sufficient?

Don’t worry about the flavor. I’ll take care of that. I just want to know hot to make the beef melt in your mouth tender.

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19 Answers

YoBob's avatar

Seer the outside then stick them in a pressure cooker for 45 minutes.

Qingu's avatar

Depends what kind of beef. If you are using chuck—and you should, because it’s the best cut for stew—you need to simmer it in liquid for at least a couple of hours before the collagen in the tissue breaks down into gelatin (this is what makes it soft).

Absent a pressure cooker, I don’t think there’s a way to shortcut this process. Also, if you cook it in water, the flavor will leach out.

iamthemob's avatar

You could also marinade it for a good long time before you cook it. That tends to soften it up.

Blueroses's avatar

Pound it, stab it with a fork a few times and sprinkle with meat tenderizer. If you have a few hours before you need it, just toss it in a slow cooker with some seasonings for a while.

snowberry's avatar

Agree with all of the above, and if after cooking you find you have too much liquid, you can simmer/boil the liquid until it’s almost gone. That way you get to keep all the great flavor and not add all that extra water. The only hitch with this is that you have to stay pretty close to the stove for as long as it takes to reduce the juice. If you don’t, it can burn.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
marinelife's avatar

Stew meat requires stewing to become tender.

RocketGuy's avatar

Yep, gotta stew it for at least an hour before it will become tender.

CarleyCruelty134's avatar

you could slow cook it in the crock pot,.... for like two hours.

Smashley's avatar

Searing the meat has more to do with the flavor than anything else. That said, it’s still a good idea. A piece of stew beef is going to have to cook low and slow for a good long while before it becomes “stew texture.” Sadly, it’s not going to be a quick process. Cooking it in some of the stew liquid is probably ideal, after you do the initial sear.

I hear that marinating makes beef more tender, but I can’t speak to that specifically. On some level it sounds like a bit of a myth, but I could be wrong. It’s certainly a great way to introduce flavor, though.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Blueroses Good link
You actually have to stew it. I would suggest adding some onions and garlic while you slowly simmer it for an hour or so, than add it to the original stew.

Jeruba's avatar

…or…you could just buy a tin of stew meat already cooked and in gravy…

anartist's avatar

Whack it with a tenderizer hammer [the 3-d equivalent of pinking shears]
and use some of the suggestions above—like the pressure cooker.
Why do you not want to stew it? It also adds to the flavor of the stew.

Doppelganger19's avatar

Look for a crock pot (slow cooker) recipe for stew. It’ll be very specific about how to prepare the meat, and if you add a few things to the basic recipe you’ll wind up with a really good stew with super-tender meet. Just be prepared to let ‘er “stew” for 8–10 hours.

Kardamom's avatar

The crock pot is your friend : )

Zone36's avatar

The point is I already made the stew yesterday and I wanted to add more meat. That’s why I was trying to find a way to do it away from the main dish.

Kardamom's avatar

You can cook the meat, separate from the already cooked stew, in a crock pot. You don’t need to make the whole stew recipe. You can probably put the meat into the crockpot with some beef broth and maybe a little bit of garlic (or not) and just let it soften up and then you can add it to the already made stew when it’s ready.

You can also braise the meat, which is pretty much the same technique as what happens inside a crock pot.

jamesbarnett's avatar

I agree with the slow cook people here, at least 2.5 hours for stew beef. I like how you want to brown the meat first. If you have a cast iron pot with lid, you could brown it on the stove top, and then add celery, carrots, onion, (or daikon, or whatever you have used in your original stew) an inch or two of water, and place the covered pot in an oven at say 225 for 2–6 hours. Some people have oven timers they can set, maybe you do. Then you can leave, and not worry about a pot on the stove. Salt to taste after it’s cooked.

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