stewing, braising - intro

aka. stews & pot roasts
The pictures shown are for beef, but this also applies to other animals.

Some meat cuts need a long time of moist cooking in order to get tender. You can boil them (see Part 1 - Soups) or you can use less water by braising (aka pot roast) or stewing. 

Braising and stewing are nearly the same thing:

Vegetables can be added to both stew and pot roast, but this is not required. It is a stew or pot roast either way, with and without vegetables.

Stewing and braising are done in the same way, no matter much what meat you use:

  1. Cut the meat into nearly bite-size pieces for stew.
    Keep it larger for pot roast. (a parted rabbit is pot roast)
  2. Brown the meat.
  3. Add liquid = less for pot roast, nearly covered for stew.
  4. Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce to low heat and simmer until tender.


Pic1: a chuck roast is being cut for stew
Pic2: browning the meat is very important

Chuck roast is my preferred stew meat.  Make sure you get some fat with the stew meat.

Buying stew meat for your stew may not be the best idea.
Those are often bits and pieces that the butcher trimmed from different parts of the animal that may require different stewing times.

I find it better to buy a bigger cut and cut it at home myself. At least then I know that all of the stew will be done at the same time.  I usually cut stew meat to 1" x 1" x 2" size or slightly smaller. Make sure to cut the pieces about the same shape and size, that everything will cook evenly.

Browning the meat (Pic2) is a very important part of the stewing process.


A stew always tastes better when it has been sitting overnight.


A few stews: 

Pic2-4: beef chuck stew


A few pot roasts: 

Pic5-7: chuck pot roasts