At the time of writing this article the nights are beginning to draw in. As summer BBQs fade into memory, a world of delicious winter stews awaits.
When you’re making a beef stew, it’s important to brown the meat to perfection. Doing so locks in so much more flavor, and the results will be obvious from the first bite!
Once skillet-cooked, the beef will be ready to go in the oven and join the slow-cook flavor frenzy, along with all the other ingredients.
This isn’t a long article as it doesn’t need to be! By the end of it though, you’ll know how to cook beef stew meat in a skillet for amazing results.
(Head back to my massive cookware guide when you’re done for more help with this side of kitchen life.)
Step 1 – Prepare The Beef
Whether you choose to dice the beef or leave it in strips, get your beef prepared so it’s ready to add to the skillet.
As for the kind of beef you should use in your stew, you don’t have to worry about tenderness here.
Any tougher cut will do, as the meat will naturally tenderize during the slower stage of the stewing.
Step 2 – Preheat The Skillet
Add your chosen oil or butter to the skillet, and then turn the stovetop up to a medium heat.
Step 3 – Start Cooking The Beef
We’re not crisping or searing the beef here, we just want to brown it. This will lock the beef flavor in while it’s cooking more slowly in the oven.
Once the oil is fizzing, add all of the beef to the skillet.
The key thing now is patience. Resist the temptation to turn and play with the meat!
Step 4 – Add A Little Seasoning
A little bit of seasoning goes a long way with a beef stew.
While the beef is going through the first stage of cooking, sprinkle over some coarse sea salt and shake some ground pepper in there too.
Step 5 – Be Patient With The Turn
After 30 seconds or so, give the skillet a little shake.
If the beef pieces slide easily around the skillet surface, they’re ready to be turned. You can now flip and shake the pan to get all of the beef turned over for the next stage of cooking.
If you’re not confident at flipping everything without utensils, grab a pair of kitchen tongs and turn the meat. Just move quickly so you ensure everything gets browned evenly.
Step 6 – Remove From The Skillet
After another 30 seconds, give the skillet a jiggle and check that the other side of the beef now slides easily around the pan.
Once this happens, remove the beef from the skillet with a slotted spoon (to remove the excess oil), and then put it to one side on a plate.
Your beef is now ready to join everything else for the long, slow stewing.
Browning beef in a skillet is a simple process, but a little extra effort here has a big impact on the final stew.
Remember the two most important things:
- Add seasoning right at the start of the browning process.
- Don’t play with your food! Slide that pan around and only turn when the beef moves freely.