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Thread: Help? How can I thicken my beef stew?

  1. #1

    Question Help? How can I thicken my beef stew?

    Hi gang,

    I'm making beef stew for DH's poker party tomorrow. It has about 90 more minutes to bake, and it's too watery. I threw in more potatoes and carrots than it asks for (it's a very forgiving recipe), and then added more broth, tomatoes and wine.

    I don't think it'll thicken after it bakes for the remainder - at least, I don't want to chance it.

    My first thought was to make a mixture of corn starch and water, or flour and water, stir it in, and hope for the best. I just don't want to risk it. I thought something had to boil in order for that combination to thicken.....anyway, if you have any suggestions, it's greatly appreciated.

    Here's the recipe, if that helps:


    Oven Baked Beef Stew

    1 Tbsp. oil
    2 lb. stew meat, cut in 1" cubes
    1/3 c. flour or 1/4 c. cornstarch
    1 tsp. salt
    2 tsp. garlic powder
    1 tsp. marjoram
    12 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
    10 oz. beef or vegetable broth
    1/2 cup dry red wine
    2 cups cube peeled potatoes
    1 cup sliced celery
    4 medium carrots, sliced
    3 small onions, quartered
    1/4 tsp. pepper

    Preheat oven to 325. Heat oil in 4 quart Dutch oven over medium. Brown beef cubes in oil. Add flour, salt, garlic powder, marjoram and pepper. Stir in tomatoes, broth and wine; mix well. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add remaining ingredients, mix well. Cover; bake for 2 hours or until meat is tender, stirring twice during baking.

    I usually add fresh green beans during the last hour of baking, and frozen corn if I have it. I love my stew loaded with veggies.

  2. #2
    Do you have any tapioca on hand? I think about 3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of tapioca would thicken it right up.

    I just used 3 tablespoons of tapioca in a crockpot recipe yesterday and it worked like a charm.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    St Louis metro
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    What about potato flakes (dried--the kind you use to make potato bread) or instant? I seem to remember reading about people doing that, although I've never tried it myself.

  4. #4
    Thanks, Anna & Suzy - but no to both.

    I'm getting nervous. I'll try the corn starch & water method. I want to get it in sooner rather than later, so the taste will cook off.

    Jeez, I hope this works. That's what I get for messing with a recipe......

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    St Louis metro
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    Or, how about mashing one or two potatoes, or throwing them in a food processor and then adding them back into your stew?

  6. #6
    Originally posted by boisewinesnob
    Or, how about mashing one or two potatoes, or throwing them in a food processor and then adding them back into your stew?
    Yeah! That's a great idea! I'd do that before the cornstarch.

  7. #7
    Originally posted by boisewinesnob
    Or, how about mashing one or two potatoes, or throwing them in a food processor and then adding them back into your stew?
    Oh wow. I cut up too many potatoes, cooked up the ones that didn't go in the stew and put them in the refrigerator for breakfast tomorrow. Guess what??

    Great idea, Suzy - thanks!!

  8. #8

    Cool

    Make a roux. When your stew is done in the oven, pop it back onto a burner, mix the roux in and voila!

    It's the same procedure as in the boeuf bourguignon recipe I posted eons ago: http://community.cookinglight.com/sh...ef+bourguignon

  9. #9
    Oy. Decisions, decisions!! Thanks, Gail. I'm pretty good at a roux too. My concern is that the roaster is bigger than the burner. Not sure if that matters. I mean, REALLY bigger.

  10. #10

    Cool

    So...?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    New England
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    Re: Help? How can I thicken my beef stew?

    Originally posted by SandyM
    I thought something had to boil in order for that combination to thicken.....
    Hi Sandy,
    I may be too late with this, but next time I'd go ahead with the flour and water method. I've used it successfully when the pot wasn't actually boiling. Your stew will be hot enough from the oven in the roaster. If you want to experiment, just take a bit of your stew out of the roaster, put it in a bowl, and add the flour & water mixture. I bet you'll be pleased with the result.

    Good luck!
    - E.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    5,791
    Sandy I agree with Elaine. Make a slurry with flour and water. To tell you the truth we love our Beef Stew on the thin side and I don't thicken it at all. The only flour that touches my meat is the coating when browning. To each there own! I have to thank you over and over again for posting this recipe. It is not only delish but simple, forgiveable and one that you can just throw together and forget about it in the oven. Yummmmm!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    MA
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    3,799
    Hi Sandy -- I'm probably too late, too, but whenever I make your beef stew (which we love, love, love, BTW), I throw in a couple of handfuls of barley, because DH and I both like a thick stew. The barley helps thicken it up, and gives it a nice texture.

    Helene
    "We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake."
    --President Barack Obama, 1/20/09

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