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Improving a beef stew recipe

Previously, I complained that the Beef Stew Stroganoff recipe in the 3-in1 cookbook turned out to be soup and not stew. For my Science of Haute Cuisine final project, I am experimenting with the recipe in hope of coming up with a great stew recipe.

For my first attempt, I:
* Seared the meat by making sure that the oil was over 120c. The outside of the meat must reach 120c for the Maillard reaction, which causes browning, to occur.
* Increased the viscosity by changing the quantity of ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 pounds lean boneless beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
14 oz beef broth
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
18 ounces baby red potatoes, quartered

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat to 120c. Add beef. Cook, stirring, until outer layer of meat is seared.

Add salt, pepper, and thyme. Pour in broth, stirring to get up all the browned bits. Bring to a boil.

Add mushrooms, peppers, and carrots. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Add potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce to low. Cover and simmer until potatoes are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Temperature of oil before adding meat: 200c
Temperature of oil after adding meat: 125c
Temperature after 5 minutes: 93c
Time to sear the meat: no change after 2 minutes. Partially seared
Final temperature of oil and fat: 93c
Time required for 100 mL stew liquid to pass through hole: 83 seconds

Next steps
Determine proper method to maintain heat, so beef can sear. Consider searing on high heat.
Continue to increase viscosity. This dish is no longer soup, but the sauce should be thickened more at the end.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 23rd, 2014 06:31 pm (UTC)
If you have a heavy pan (e.g. cast iron skillet), you could use that for the searing. A heavy pan will retain heat better. You could also sear smaller amounts of meat, so in two or three batches instead on in one batch.

To make it thicker, you could use less beef broth, or boil it first to reduce volume before using it, or use a thickener like flour.
Mar. 1st, 2014 04:35 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, I had to get rid of my heavy pot. But I saw one tip to leave the meat out for a couple of hours, and it's not so cold. The cold meat reduced the temperature of the oil significantly, which stopped it from searing further.

For thickening, I'm going to try adding a small amount of xanthum gum. My course taught that it thickens without modifying the flavour.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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