14 April 2014

A Student's Stew Done Right

A friend of mine, Miss Fahimah, showed me her (ad hoc?) recipe to make an awesome sounding vegetable & pasta soup; after reading that up, I sort of felt I wanted to make something like that as well; a soup or stew! Something you can eat while watching TV and curled up in a blanket.

Comfort food la, senang cerita. So today I went out to get ingredients for a really nice beef stew.

So, come, let's cook. You will need:

Onions; I used red, but white is okay. Slice them.

Carrots. Cut them into bite size chunks.

Mushrooms, cut into chunks also. I know, got sliced there, but that was a mistake. And use fresh mushrooms please ok thank you.

Beef; cut into roughly 1in x 1in cubes. If you don't wanna use beef that's fine. Substitute with horse, rhinoceros, lion, bear, otter and seal or whatever tickles your fancy.

Other stuff you'll need:
Water, Salt, Pepper, Tomato Paste, Thyme, Rosemary, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, Honey

Okay, so come let's cook. First up we want to seal the beef, so place a deep pan on high heat. Get the pan smoking hot; as really smoking hot, macam Syaitan nak bersin.

Season the beef cubes. When the pan is hot enough, drizzle some oil and add the beef in batches. Stir around so the meat becomes a nice brown in color, and take it out. Like this:

Now in the same pan, add the onions and carrots. Stir around until the onions are a bit soft. Got that? Okay, when the onions are soft, add in about two tablespoons of tomato puree/paste and stir around. Add in roughly two tablespoons of honey as well. Kacau-kacau.

Next up dump in about two and a half tablespoons of all purpose flour. Stir the stuff in the pan evenly on high heat until the the onions get a bit brown and the flour is incorporated. This takes about 2 minutes je pun.

Now add the beef back into the pan and mix well. Next up, add water into the pan until it just about covers the solid ingredients.

Splash in the Worcestershire Sauce. Add the herbs; I only had dried, but use fresh if you could get it! It'll taste a lot better if you use fresh.

Now here's the important part; reduce the heat to the second lowest setting and leave it to cook for at least 90 MINUTES; 120 is best!.

Why low heat for at least 90 minutes? Here is why, taken from The Paupered Chef:
  • Connective tissue must hit 160-180 degrees before they dissolve into gelatin, when the meat is suddenly succulent
  • The only problem is that muscle fibers (the actual meat) lose their juices and dry out before then, between 140-150 degrees...
So the solution is to cook it at a relatively low temperature, which helps keep the meat moist, but for a longer period of time, which allows the connective tissue between the muscle fibers to dissolve!

So leave the pan on the stove on low heat; check only to stir once in a while and adjust seasoning if needed. I left mine for about 1 3/4 hours. All the while I tahan lapar okay? Hurhh. But anywaysss, at the end of a roughly two and a half hour cooking session, I got:

RESULT!. I have to say this is one of my best 'creations' yets; the broth was nice and syrupy, with a hint of sweetness but spicy overall from the pepper and herbs. The carrots were wonderfully soft but not mushy, and the mushrooms still had a springiness when I bit in. I mopped up the sauce with toasted baguette, which went awesome with it.

But best of all? The beef was MELT IN THE MOUTH TENDER AND JUICY. It almost crumbled in the mouth and I could taste the daging-ness of it.




  1. Anonymous04:46

    yumss. am hungry jz by readin it!

  2. me too. huhuh. btw, nama recipe tu sangatlah mega panjang :o

    sangat amusing edwan. i wonder when i'll be able to cook something like that. probably in ten years time kot -_-"