Hot answers tagged

69

"Cooking wine" is unfortunately ubiquitous on US mega-mart shelves. It is notoriously bad. I mean really, really notoriously bad. It starts bad, and then they add obscene amounts of salt so that it can be sold on grocery store shelves for $6. As pointed out by @Malvolio, "salted wine is supposed to be disgusting! Many US states have special licensing ...


31

There really is no practical difference; the dictionary definition of a soup is: a liquid food made by boiling or simmering meat, fish, or vegetables with various added ingredients. Which also applies to any stew you can conceive of. The technical, highly-nuanced difference is that of emphasis and intent. Stewing is a method of cooking the solids (...


19

45 minutes of boiling is more than enough time to soften potatoes regardless of altitude. Parboiling potatoes before roasting frees up and gelatinizes starches on the outside of the potatoes that then get nice and crunchy when roasted. It will not do anything useful in your stew. The likely culprit for your potatoes not softening is probably acid. When ...


14

There's no point in boiling peas separately if you can cook them in whatever dish you are making, it's an extra pan to clean up and you lose whatever flavor gets leached out in the cooking process. I think where you went wrong is adding them frozen as you caused the base to cool and they sank. If you add a lot of peas the base can take a long time to get ...


11

As far as I know, Collagen starts to break down below 60°C/140F, time play a big role, i.e. to get the same breakdown at 60°C as 80°C you might need 24-48h instead of 3-4h. The higher the heat the more the meat is contracted and it will get dryer, in a stew that might not be as obvious as in other cooking methods but it should still be the fact. Compare ...


11

I'm going to assume that you are covering your meat with liquid, because if you aren't that's the problem. Collagen needs heat plus water to break down, if you don't have liquid it will turn tough as old leather. There is no point where meat gets tougher when being slow cooked, what happens first is that the collagen breaks down, then the proteins start to ...


11

Browning ingredients (both meat and vegetables including the aromatics) before doing a braise or stew (which is what slow cookers do) helps develop depth of flavor, through the Maillard reaction where proteins and carbohydrates react together to create a myriad of flavorful compounds. Vegetables that are high in sugar, such as onions or leeks, and even ...


11

Unpeeled means not peeled. Do not peel the carrots.


10

The idea is to brown the outside of the meat in order to develop the flavour via the Maillard Reaction. This flavour will add to the richness and meatiness of the stew as a whole. Go ahead and give it a good crust. Don't overcrowd the pan or you will just end up steaming the meat in its own juices and it will never brown up: fry it in small batches instead. ...


9

Rumtscho pretty much summed it up in his comment above: You can't really stew chicken breasts (at least not from the young chickens that are found in most supermarkets). The reason is that what makes a meat "fall apart" tender is its fat and collagen content. Collagen is connective tissue that is usually found in muscles that do a lot of work for the ...


9

In the oven, that heat is coming from all directions more or less equally. On the stovetop, the heat is coming only from the bottom. This can potentially cause convection, and almost certainly requires occasional stirring (especially for larger batches), meaning that the ingredients are being moved around. The combination of the ingredients being heated more ...


9

Another option is to freeze wine - buy a bottle, use what you need this time and freeze the rest in containers of about a cup. Red doesn't freeze completely solid so keep the containers the right way up in the freezer. This is also good if you've drunk some of a bottle and know you won't finish it. Some cheap drinking wine is good for cooking, such as ...


8

Well I will tell you what my old country Grandma use to say, "you can eat a stew on a plate but you will need a bowl for your soup, but they both come out of the same pot!"


8

Assuming a long, cooked stew. I cut up a well marbled chuck steak usually and chuck is what I'd recommend. You want enough fat that as the stew cooks long, the fat will render and leave nice, tender meat. Too lean and you're left with boiled shoe leather. If you want a quicker stew, use a leaner cut of meat like sirloin. It will have a lot of flavor but ...


7

I'd suggest skinless bone-in chicken thighs, as they have plenty of fat and collagen to keep them moist and tasty. I've cooked them in French-style wine-based stews, not to mention cacciatorre, for 2-3 hours before now and they just fall off the bone. It is virtually impossible to overcook them, unless you boil them mercilessly for hours. Just get a nice ...


7

It is somewhere in the range between 70°C-80°C (160 to 175 F I think - conversion may not be exact), below that collagen doesn't hydrolyse. There is no advantage in cooking at this temperature, as your actin has already denatured (that's what you are trying to avoid in roasts and steaks) and is very dry and tough. Without the lubrication from gelatine (...


7

You want a cut amenable to stewing, which is a low, slow, wet cooking method--its a variant of braising. These are generally tougher cuts with a lot of connective collagen which will convert to gelatin during the cooking, a part of the animal that works relatively hard in life. These cuts are flavorful and usually (relatively) inexpensive. One cut that is ...


7

There are several major varieties of clam chowder, which you can find enumerated on the Wikipedia page. New England clam chowder is characterized by a dairy base, usually with some sort of salt pork or bacon, and potatoes. Note: the term chowder basically just means soup or stew, usually with seafood of some sort--very different dishes may go by the name.


7

I'd suggest buying something like Franzia -- a box of wine with a bladder so that air can't get in. They last in the fridge for a few months, so you can use it as a supply for cooking wine for a while. And its OK (not great) to drink as well. As it has been noted time and time again, you can cook with wine that you wouldn't enjoy drinking just fine. ...


7

The main differences: Bourguignon is made with a red wine from the Burgundy (Bourgogne) region. Daube is a southern dish, from provence/languedoc, and would typically be made with a richer red (occasionally, and originally, white) wine from that region Bourguignon is almost always garnished with small onions, carrots, mushroom and bacon, nothing else. Daube,...


6

Salt is very much an individual thing. Luckily, you can always add more if needed. The only rule of thumb I can think of is to add a little, taste, and see if it needs more. I would also suggest sweating the vegetables before adding water, with some salt on them. Brings out the flavours better, thus needing less salt overall for flavour.


6

Edit: If cooking longer softens the potatoes, then this isn't what's happening. In that case, well, you just need to cook longer. The main variable is probably temperature (maybe the pot isn't actually all hot for all 30-45 minutes), followed by variations in cut size and in the firmness of the original potatoes. But the rest could apply to some readers too! ...


6

Rumtscho's answer is correct for most reasonable practical purposes--see Science of Cooking article on slow cooking, which breaks down the process in great detail, at various temperatures. The article provides primary sources if you wish to investigate further. Collagen dissolves to gelatin between 160 F and 180 F (71 C and 82 C), but it is a time ...


6

You have some good answers here. I would suggest the following. Always have plenty of liquid for slow cooking any meat. You can ensure this by cooking in a covered pot/wrapping in foil if in the oven or keeping the lid on for a slow cooker. Placing you meat on vegetables such as carrot or onion will add flavour and moisture. Look at it after an hour or so ...


6

Right now I'm thinking of draining the whole mess and making a new gravy but if there's a way to salvage what's already there I'd try it. Before you pitch it, I'd consider cooking it even longer -- we're aiming for 'ragoût' (cooked to rags), not just your typical stew. We want the vegetables to completely disintigrate, until they're more a thickener for ...


6

The distinction is not so much what you add as what you do with the liquid. If I am making boiled carrots, when they're done I drain them, throwing the water away or possibly saving it to make soup with some other time, and serve the carrots. If I am making a vegetable stew then not only do I add things to the liquid (to flavour or thicken it, or both) but I ...


6

Hobgoblin is a dark brown ale and would work just fine as a replacement for Newcastle Nut Brown Ale for cooking purposes. Newcastle is more widely available than Hobgoblin, so is often used in recipes, but at the end of the day, any decent brown ale will do.


6

It has nothing to do with meat absorbing liquids, that doesn't happen just as you explained it. Once meat has become dry, it doesn't get succulent again by somehow spongeing up liquid. The recipe is right to have you wait before serving though, because the flavors keep improving at least for the first day after cooking a stew. It is about aroma, not about ...


5

This is my personal experience. It takes sometime to reach the boiling temperature (again) when you add colder water. As a result, vegetables get cooked for a longer period than anticipated. This makes some vegetables becoming mushy and not tasting as good as otherwise. (Example: Egg Plant) Therefore, I make sure to add the right amount of water in the ...


5

Of course you can use it. You can use any edible liquid: water, wine, chicken stock, pineapple juice, whatever. The real question is whether the flavors the wine was mulled with are compatible, and you enjoy them. If they will compliment your dish, go for it. I cannot speak to your taste in stew but the sweet spices often used in mulled wine may give it ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible