Beef – stewing

 Beef – stewing Key facts Stewing steak is the cheapest type and ideal for winter casseroles; brown it first to keep it tender; stewing steak absorbs other flavours such as wine and spices really well.
It is the forequarter meat on an animal that’s usually the most suitable for stewing and braising – everything from the waist up. 

Without becoming too technical, it is the front portion that initiates the movements of the animal and therefore works harder than the back portion. This means there is more muscle there, and more of something called connective tissue, a gelatinous substance which builds up as the animal matures. Conveniently, there is also rather more fat marbling the forequarter meat, so that during the longer, slower cooking that’s needed for these cuts, there is a gradual rendering-down of the connective tissue (which provides flavour and body to the sauce), and at the same time an internal basting of the meat fibres by the marbling of fat. 

This does a splendid job of keeping the meat succulent, and (because there’s a good deal of flavour in the fat itself) explains why forequarter meat develops flavour as it cooks.Here is a list of the cuts that are suitable for stewing (and braising). These cuts are always from the same part of the animal’s anatomy but, confusingly, the way they’re cut varies from region to region. 

Stewing beef can come from the neck and cod. These are accorded some undignified titles such as sticking, or in Scotland gullet, or in the North vein or sloat!! 

Also suitable for stewing is thin flan which is sometimes just called flank. Leg and shin beef also stew beautifully given enough time.
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