What Spices Should You Use in Beef Stew?
When you are making a beef stew, the spices you choose become very important. Some will not do anything for the stew, while others may clash with the beef or the vegetables. By choosing the right spices, you can bring out the best flavors in the beef and the other ingredients. The following spices work wonderfully in beef stew.
Bay leaves are the dried leaves of the bay laurel tree. Bay leaves are added to stews and sauces for flavoring, but they are removed before serving. When eaten, bay leaves have a sharp, bitter flavor. This herb is used in Mediterranean, French, Indian, and Pakistani cooking.
Black pepper is a seasoning made from the fruit of the Piper nigrum vine. Known as peppercorns, this vine produces black, white, and green peppercorns. The point at which harvest takes place decides the type of peppercorn. Black pepper adds some spicy heat to any dish. Grinding your black pepper right into the stew will ensure that you get the most flavor, as pepper that is ground and then stored loses most of its aromatics.
Garlic is part of the onion family. The bulb of the plant harbors most of the flavor, although the blossoms can also be eaten. Garlic can be added to recipes fresh, dried, or powdered. Garlic adds a pungent note that is especially nice with rich meats like beef. Garlic pairs nicely with tomato, onions, and other common stew ingredients.
Salt is a mineral that the human body needs to balance its electrolytes and do many other functions. It also makes our food taste good. In fact, salt is one of the four main tastes that are built in; salt, sweet, bitter, and sour. Most cooks use table salt or kosher salt. Kosher salt has a softer flavor that adds flavor without over salting the dish.
A good tip to remember when salting your stew: Use only a little at the beginning of cooking. The liquid in the recipe will reduce as it cooks, intensifying the flavors, including salt. Check the flavor of the stew before serving and adjust the salt at that time.
Thyme is an herb that is often added to meat dishes like stew. It has a strong flavor that pairs well with beef, lamb, eggs, and tomatoes. Thyme has the outstanding quality of strong flavor that does not overpower everything else. It has a way of blending well with other seasonings. Thyme can be added to the stew either fresh or dried. If you like to grow your own herbs, thyme is one of the easiest to grow. Add it early in the cooking process to get thyme’s full flavor.
Other Ingredients that Add Flavor
Aside from these spices, onions are often added to add flavor to beef stew. To get the best results, chop the onion well and caramelize it slightly in butter or olive oil. This brings out the flavors in the onion so they are more readily shared in the stew. Leeks, parsley, chervil and other ingredients are also very delicious in stew.
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