Stews are a wonderful meal staple for the fall, with their rich, flavorful bases, enticing seasonings and delectable ingredients, and they warm you right up on a brisk day. Here are five tips for making healthy and delicious stews this season:
- Trim meats
The cuts of beef, chicken, pork or lamb that are cubed and prepackaged for making stews are typically have higher levels of fat. Be sure to trim the meat before adding it to the stew, or choose less expensive cuts of meat in bulk and cube them yourself.
- Consider fish
Fish can also be delicious in stews, not to mention more nutritious than red meats. You’ll want to choose heartier types of fish for your stew, and cook the dish for less time than a meat stew, according to the Reluctant Gourmet. Good fish options for stews are snapper, halibut, cod and sea bass.
- Be patient
When you’re hungry, it’s tempting to want to race through the stew-making process. But cooking the stew slowly and steadily is key to its deliciousness, CookingLight noted. Cook the stew on a low temperature and bring it to a simmer – giving the process its due time means that the flavors can combine together beautifully and that the meat or fish will be ultra-tender.
- Pre-cook the meat
The Kitchn emphasizes that searing the meat before you add it to the stew is absolutely non-negotiable. Simply adding raw meat to a stew won’t give it enough time to develop that tender consistency and rich flavor. The site recommends putting beef cubes in a hot pan and then cooking them for a few minutes until the bottoms have a dark crust. Flip the cubes over and repeat for the other sides. Searing makes a huge difference when it comes to the richness of the stew’s flavor.
- Use a light hand when it comes to thickening
Many people are tempted to add in lots of cornstarch, flour or other thickening agents to their stews. However, this not only makes the stew less nutritious, but is generally unnecessary, according to Bon Appetit magazine. The publication noted that you’ll probably be using potatoes in your stew, which will likely have enough starch to thicken your stew the right amount.
With these tips, you can create balanced and nutritious stews this fall.