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Beef + stew = hearty + tasty!

Hot soups and hearty stews are good foods for the chilly months of the year.

 

As the days get shorter, people start thinking again about all their favourite recipes for stews with beef. In Germany, popular classics include Gaisburger Marsch, beef stew with green beans and granny’s beef and barley stew. Gaisburger Marsch is a traditional dish from Gaisburg, today part of Stuttgart. It’s a pretty substantial dish, made with beef, beef broth, potatoes and noodles and topped with fried onions. But you don’t have to follow a specific recipe and stews are a wonderful way of using up leftovers to create a tasty and nourishing meal.

 

If you’re trying to keep the calories down, stews are the ideal dish for cutting out fat. Even quite fatty cuts of meat are better cooked without fat. Good examples are the German Tafelspitz, which is stewed fillet of beef, together with breast and prime rib of beef. These cuts are firm and finely marbled with fat, which helps to keep them moist and juicy during cooking.

 

Before stewing, the meat is cut into chunk. It’s best to cut straight across the fibres, or at the very least diagonally. Meat that has been sliced along the fibres will lose more of its juices during cooking and become. The chunks of meat are dropped into boiling, salted water. As soon as the cut surfaces have sealed and turned greyish, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the meat slowly until it is tender. If you care about the appearance of the dish, the foam that builds up on the surface should be ladled off at intervals.

 

An alternative method is to take topside or silverside, cut it into chinks as before, but instead of cooking it in water only, the meat is first browned all round in fat. Then bouillon or wine is added to deglaze the pan and the meat is braised slowly in a tightly closed pot until it is tender. This method is not quite so low-calorie as using only water, but some people love the extra flavour you get from browning the meat first in fat.

 

The great advantages of both these cooking methods is that all the flavour and nutrients – the water-soluble vitamins and minerals – stay either in the meat or in the broth. And the flavours can be enhanced with herbs and spices. Good in a beef stew are one or more of black or white pepper, long pepper, nutmeg, chilli, garlic, paprika, oregano, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, lovage, allspice and juniper berries.

 

Source: Eva Neumann, www.bzfe.de