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Stews are Hearty and Nourishing

Many recipes ask you to dredge the meat pieces in flour. This means to coat the meat pieces in a flour crust which, when seared, will seal the juices inside the meat and provide a tasty crust.


One thing I look forward to in cooler weather is a pot of stew simmering on the stovetop. They are so hearty, nourishing to the soul and economical.

Stews are comfort food. Imagine a steaming pot of chunks of meat and vegetables in a thick sauce, infused with flavor.

Stews are any dish made by stewing. They contain meat, vegetables and a thick soup, and are simmered slowly for a long period of time in a tightly covered pot. Since they stew for a long time, less tender cuts of meat can be chosen. They become tender and juicy with the slow moist heat method. This makes it popular in low-cost cooking. Cuts having a certain amount of marbling give moist, juicy stews, while lean meat may easily become dry.

Many times a stew recipe will ask you to dredge the meat pieces in flour. This means to coat the meat pieces in a flour crust which, when seared will seal the juices inside the meat and provide a tasty crust. As an added bonus, it makes a wonderful roux to help thicken the stew.

When browning the dredged pieces of meat, be sure that there is a thin layer of oil in the bottom of the pan, and cook the meat over medium high heat to sear quickly, but not overcook. Do not overcrowd the pan with meat, or your meat will steam instead of brown. 

While browning the meat, a thick coating will appear on the bottom of the pan. When the meat has been lightly browned on all sides, remove it from the pan and begin to deglaze the pan.

This means to add liquid to the pan and boil while you scrap the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. These will provide flavor and will dissolve during the cooking process.

The secret to great stew is to simmer, not boil the liquid. Add vegetables once the meat has had a chance to simmer. This keeps the vegetables from being overcooked. You want the meat to be fork tender and the vegetables to retain their shape.

Stew is a hearty meal that cooks in one pan so there is little clean up, and pairs great with a sturdy bread, crackers or cornbread.

Contact me at the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, in Miller County for more information at 870-779-3609, or e-mail Follow me on facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaHaleyHadley, and  twitter @MillerCountyFCS      

Although the ingredient list may look long, this Beef Stew will nourish your body. In fact, I have a rich, hearty, beef stew simmering for our dinner tonight. Feel free to substitute vegetables according to your families’ preference.

Beef Stew with a Kick

4 tablespoons oil

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon parsley

2 pounds beef stew meat

2 small yellow onions, chopped

6 large potatoes, diced with skins on

6 carrots, sliced

3 stalks celery, sliced

1 cup whole kernel corn

1 cup English peas

1 cup cut green beans

1 10 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies

64 ounces vegetable juice, low sodium

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. In a plastic bag mix together the flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper and parsley. Add a small handful of meat at a time and shake until well coated; brown in hot oil, about 1 minute per side. Remove browned meat and continue until all meat is browned.

Lower heat to medium and add chopped onions. Caramelize onions then remove and set aside. Deglaze the pot by adding half of the vegetable juice, and bringing to a boil while scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

Once the pan has become deglazed, add meat to the pan and simmer about 30 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, stir, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer until vegetables are tender.

For thicker broth: Add 3 tablespoon flour and1 tablespoon cold water in a small bowl and mix well, slowly stir mixture into stew.


By Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
(870) 779-3609

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