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A while ago, 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 experimented with the recipe and ended up with a good 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

This time, I:
* Seared the meat better by heating the oil to a higher temperature. I also increased the temperature of the meat, so that it wouldn't lower the temperature of the oil.
* Further increased the viscosity (and the creaminess) by adding a corn starch and almond milk paste at the end.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 pounds lean boneless beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 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
1 tablespoon corn starch
3 tablespoons almond milk

At least 8 hours before cooking the stew, put the beef cubes into a large sealable bag or container, along with the salt. Shake well to coat evenly.

Two hours before cooking the stew, remove the beef from the refrigerator. You must bring the beef up to room temperature, so that the oil does not get cold. Just before cooking, blot the beef with a paper towel.

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat to 188c. Add beef. Cook, stirring, until outer layer of meat is seared.

Add 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.

Mix corn starch with almond milk. Turn up heat on the stew. Add a ladle of hot stew liquid to the corn starch paste and mix well. Make a well in the middle of the stew. Add the paste mixture to the stew liquid and mix for 30 seconds. Mix the thickened sauce with the stew. Remove from heat and serve.

The meat took a couple of minutes to sear and after 5 minutes was well-seared. I even used stewing beef this time, and the melting fat did not cool the oil much. The almond milk corn starch paste added the creaminess that was missing and also thickened the stew. The original recipe called for sour cream, but we cannot use dairy.

This stew is very mild, and I'm thinking the some onion would turn this into a great stew.

Your opinion welcome. Please leave a comment.

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