I try to make beef stew but it won't thicken up and it ends up being bland and flavorless no matter how much seasoning I add to the broth.

I try to make beef stew but it won't thicken up and it ends up being bland and flavorless no matter how much seasoning I add to the broth. What do I do? How do I make a good beef stew? At this point I'm wasting money to make something that doesn't even taste as good as canned stew.

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  1. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    MSG.

  2. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    you are adding flour or cornstarch to thicken right?
    just gotta check

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Thanks for all the advice everyone, I'll be putting it to use next time I try making stew. How strong is MSG? Do you need a lot for a stew?

      I do add flour to it, but it just seems like no matter how much I add it never thickens up. I'm always afraid of adding too much and turning the whole thing into glue, too (had a bad incident doing this to chicken alfredo once).

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        msg doesn't have much of a taste, but if enhances flavors.
        I usually put in as much as I do salt.
        how much flour are you trying? how much stew is it going in?

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          I saw "about 1.5 tsp flour per cup of fluid" so I did that (8 cups of beef broth) and it didn't really have any effect on it.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            125 g roux per liter liquid.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        I saw "about 1.5 tsp flour per cup of fluid" so I did that (8 cups of beef broth) and it didn't really have any effect on it.

        recipe amounts are never gonna be 100% accurate, you just have to experiment until you find what works for you. if you end up making it too thick, you can always thin it out again by adding more liquid. then note down what you did, what worked and what didn't, and try again. it's gonna be a bit of trial and error, no way around it.
        >(had a bad incident doing this to chicken alfredo once).
        alfredo's a different beast cause you have the cream and cheese.

        another thing I've heard about is using instant mashed potatoes as a thickener, but I can't speak for that personally

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        >How strong is MSG? Do you need a lot for a stew?
        Very little. About 1/10-1/8 of the amount of salt you add.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        just be careful if you use starch as a thickener, make sure you DO NOT mix it into hot water, it will make nasty jello chunks. mix it into cold water only.

  3. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Look up proper recipes for sauce espagnole and use that as the sauce base.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Mother sauces may be too highbrow for these boards recently, but that's top tier advice.
      sufficient for this board may be 2 Tblsp. flour made into a slurry with 1/4 C. water.
      MSG is fine, but a few heavy dashes of Worcestershire sauce or even mushroom ketchup or powder would lend a deeper, more complex flavor.

  4. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    There's a goulash recipe I found that uses a whole yellow onion as a thickener. Chop a whole onion fine, soften it with some lard, then add the meat to brown and put in your liquids. Worked out pretty well.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Every goulash uses onions as the thickener.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        I exposed myself as a cooklet I'm so embarrassed bros

  5. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    To make the stew thicker, add potato, or peas and simmer/pressure cook your stew until they are soft enough, then stir your stew.

  6. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Make a slurry or just reduce it longer, it's not rocket appliances. Use less liquid, stew is different from soup in that it's a cooking technique, you're essentially braising the beef low and slow so the muscle fibers and collagen break down and tenderize an otherwise tough cut.
    You can even take it a step farther, remove the meat and veg and stuff when it's done, strain the liquid and throw it in a sauce pan with a knob of butter and reduce it further into a thick and rich gravy.

  7. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    what everyone else said about thickener, plus for the flavor, you should use boulion to make beef broth/beef stock. don't use water. also add some MSG, it's not bad for you, that's propaganda.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >Bouillon
      >When bones are dirt cheap and you can easily make more stock than you know what to do with
      moronic.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        morons are those who use just shitty bones for bouillons/fonds and not actual meat.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          There's usually some meat on the bones, I'll throw in any trimmings too, but the flavor and properties of stock primarily come from the bones and only morons don't know this. The bones are the foundation, they are, dare I say, the skeleton of the stock.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >skeleton of the stock
            Nice

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        boulion takes less than five minutes and making stock with bones requires at least half of the daylight hours...

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          >making stock with bones requires at least half of the daylight hours...
          it's not like it requires your active attention. on a day off, put it on the stove, and go do something else. freeze it or jar it. wa-la.

  8. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Lots of ways to thicken.
    Flour or starch is the easiest.
    Some people use chopped up stale bread.

    I like to start with tomato paste, and then add whole wheat flour if it's still not thick enough.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      If you don’t make bone broth, ad unflavored gelatin.

  9. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Flour or cornstarch
    Add more tomato paste to the base before pouring in liquid
    Boil it off more
    Use a cut of meat with more tendon or connective tissue

  10. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Less liquid, more starch.

  11. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    make a roux. mix some of the liquids with the roux then incorporate into your stew

  12. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    to make it "thicker" cook it 3+ hours

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      I usually give it around 4 or 5 hours in the pot...

      make a roux. mix some of the liquids with the roux then incorporate into your stew

      125 g roux per liter liquid.

      [...]
      recipe amounts are never gonna be 100% accurate, you just have to experiment until you find what works for you. if you end up making it too thick, you can always thin it out again by adding more liquid. then note down what you did, what worked and what didn't, and try again. it's gonna be a bit of trial and error, no way around it.
      >(had a bad incident doing this to chicken alfredo once).
      alfredo's a different beast cause you have the cream and cheese.

      another thing I've heard about is using instant mashed potatoes as a thickener, but I can't speak for that personally

      Noted. I've never made a roux before so that'll be fun to try.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        It's easier that you might think.
        Equal parts flour into melted butter over med high-high heat. stir constantly with a rubber spatula just until it begins to pull away from the pan while stirring it--You'll know it when you see it.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          You have to keep in mind that butter is 20% water and have to wait until it evaporates as flour starts clumping in water pretty easily. So calculate the weight loss or use pure fats/oils in general. 6 parts flour : 5 parts fat/oil.

  13. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Cover the beef in flour before you cook it.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >Cover the beef in flour before you cook
      Yeah all the recipes for classic Irish Stew say to do this.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >Cover the beef in flour before you cook it.
      this is what I do, big chunks of chuck, dredged in seasoned flour (usually lots of black pepper and Tony Cachere's in my flour). Then, I lovingly brown every side of my chunks. Brown is flavor. Next up is to deglaze with flavor, typically wine or sherry, and next up is coffee in the pan, bay leaf, and whatever spices I wish to use.

  14. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Sounds like you're adding too much liquid. Cut back, especially if it's water you're adding. By the time the stew comes up to a simmer, it should be just about the thickness you expect it to be when its ready.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      But I have to make a huge serving of it... What can be done?

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Water doesn't add any flavor, texture or nutrition to your dish. Watering your stew down isn't going to make more stew. Your only option is to double (or otherwise scale) the rest of the ingredients to your needs.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          Yeah I don't add any water except when I'm making the slurry, the rest is all beef stock.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            If your stew comes out too thin then you're still ruining the texture with too much stock.

  15. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    when you cook anything that has water in it, the longer you cook it, the more water evaporates. the chemical compounds that give something flavor do not. the more water evaporates, the more thick and flavorful anything will be. cook it longer.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      this, for frick sake, this, listen to this fella, is not about adding fricking flour, its all about cooking time.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      dont you dare to use any kind of starch, use beer as broth base and then potato to thicken, thats it , a bit of smashed potato, remember a stew is a slow cooking meal, maybe you dont get what you want because you want a stew in 20 min.

      this, for frick sake, this, listen to this fella, is not about adding fricking flour, its all about cooking time.

      I always give it about 5 hours in the pot...

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        let it cook uncovered for 2-3 of those hours. not joking, 90% of cooking is about balancing moisture levels i fricking hate food

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          Considering what someone was saying about letting water evaporate, that sounds pretty solid... I'll try it next time.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            He was right but you do need some kind of starch too. Add potatoes, legumes, oats, barley etc about 30 minutes before it's done, or make a roux in a separate pan and pour your broth in until it's smooth. Something like that anyway

  16. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    dont you dare to use any kind of starch, use beer as broth base and then potato to thicken, thats it , a bit of smashed potato, remember a stew is a slow cooking meal, maybe you dont get what you want because you want a stew in 20 min.

  17. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    1. Brown your fatty cut of meat, add a dash of flour to ensure the moisture doesn't stop the browning. Don't use lean meat here, fat is flavor
    2. Add some flour when cooking the onions down, this makes a early small amount of roux
    3. Add red wine and port and reduce <- this adds a LARGE amount of flavor, don't skip
    4. Use concentrated stock or demi-glace
    5. Only add enough water to cover
    6. Don't forget herb bundle with bay leaf

    The pros cook the veggies separate afterwards as garnish. So things like pearl onions, carrots, potato chunks, bacon lardons etc. all get cooked near the end and added last minute.

  18. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    the essentials are to brown the meat properly and add salt. you'll need a lot of salt.

    MSG and stock will take it to the next level.

  19. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    I don't bother with roux for beef stew. wait until it's done cooking and then mash together equal parts flour and butter and stir it into the pot. bring it to a boil while stirring and that's it.

  20. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >it ends up being bland and flavorless no matter how much seasoning I add
    I'm going to give you a piece of advice that an old chef once told me at my first job. I think I was making an asparagus soup for a special - even though I'd never made asparagus soup before - and after fumbling around for awhile I asked him to taste it and tell me what I'm doing wrong, and why it's so bland. He asked me what herbs and seasonings I added, and then said, "that sounds good, so what's the problem?" And I told him it's just kind of bland. And here's the real kicker, and a piece of advice I will never forget: he said, "if your soup doesn't have enough seasoning, add more seasoning." I know, it sounds stupid and borderline trolling. But...that's honestly the only answer. It's not magic; it's just experience, and learning to taste your food and get a sense for proportions.

    As for thickening, there's lot's of options. For a stew, you don't want to just "reduce it". That's dumb. I also don't like adding mushy ingredients. If you're using flour, add it when you're sweating the aromatics. If there isn't enough, you can always whip up a bit of roux in a sauce pan, ladle in a bit of the broth to incorporate, and then gradually add it back until you've reached the desired consistency. Alternatively, it's a lot quicker and easier to do a corn starch slurry (you can use potato starch or whatever; we just use corn starch here because...). Just mix equal parts starch and water and add towards the end. 30 seconds on a low boil and it will thicken right up. It's a different kind of thickness than roux (it was first described to me as "Chinese takeout thickness"), but it's not necessarily bad. It's a lot faster than flour (you need to cook the raw flour taste out), so that might be a better option to experiment with, as you can add a little at a time and see the results almost instantly.

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