I wanted to make beef stew for the first time tonight, but I’m having a little trouble with my usual method. Generally, if I want to make something new, I look at a bunch of recipes online to get a sense of the basics, then pick and choose from the various plans the details that sound good to me.
With beef stew, however, there seems to be a lot of disagreement over pretty much everything, and I’m having trouble figuring out how I should go about getting to the results I want. Any ideas at all would be great. Full recipes are cool, but fundamentally I’m looking for concepts here.
Some specific questions:
– Beef stock vs. water? Use both? In approximately what ratios? Benefits/drawbacks of either?
– Can the potatoes boil for hours without disintegrating, or do they have to go in 30-40 minutes before it’s done? (I have the time, so I want the stew to simmer for an extra-long time.)
– Added flour to thicken the sauce: yea or nay? If “yea,” at any old time during cooking, or only at a specific point? I want the broth to have at least some thickness to it.
– I want to use lots of garlic: best way to do so?
– Tomato sauce? Tomato paste? Neither? If either, when?
– I made about six pounds of garlic-parmesan mashed potatoes last night, so I’m thinking I could go easy on the potatoes in the stew since I’ll likely have the mashed ones as a side dish every night for the next week. Any other good complementary pieces to the stew (besides carrots)? I dislike onions.
– What am I likely forgetting?
Thanks much. Again, any ideas, whether I mentioned them or not, would be a big help.