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Stew Meat

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Is it ok to cook my stew meat 2 or 3 days ahead of time? And how will I know that I've cooked it long enough? I've only been cooking for a couple of years and I always have LOTS of questions.

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Hmm. Why would you want to do that? Let's say you're making beef stew. Stew is supposed to be an economical dish, so stew meat is made from relatively inexpensive cuts of beef. Therefore, it should be cooked slowly, in liquid, long enough for it to become tender. Also, the whole point of stew is the mingling of the flavors of the ingredients (meat, veggies, etc.).

Here's a good stew recipe from Grandma's Cookbook:

* 2 pounds beef stew meat

* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

* 3 cups water

* 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

* 1 medium onion, sliced

* 1 tablespoon salt

* 1 clove garlic, peeled

* 1 or 2 bay leaves

* 1 teaspoon sugar

* 1/2 teaspoon paprika

* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

* dash of ground allspice or ground cloves

* 6 medium carrots, scraped and quartered

* 5 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

* 1 pound pearl onions, peeled

* 1/4 cup water

* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Brown beef on all sides in hot oil in a Dutch oven. Add the 3 cups of water and the next nine ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and discard the garlic clove and bay leaves. Add the carrots and potatoes, cover and simmer 30 to 45 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Carefully remove beef and vegetables with a slotted spoon. Cover and keep warm. Drain off or skim fat from drippings, reserving 1-3/4 cups drippings in the Dutch oven.

Combine the 1/4 cup water with the flour, and stir until smooth. Stir a few tablespoons of the drippings into the flour mixture, and stir again until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the drippings in the Dutch oven, stirring constantly, until smooth. Cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Return meat and vegetables to Dutch oven, and stir to combine. Makes 9 cups.

I suppose you could cook it for the first 1-1/2 hours, then refrigerate it and finish cooking it later. That would be my recommendation.

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If you have already seasoned it, it probably will be OK. For me I never re-heat beef, I find a distasteful flavor the next day. If I store a Cooked steak, I slice it cold for sandwitches. I can however shred a roast and make a hot beef sandwitch out of it with hot gravy poured over it.

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