A stew is a combination of
solid food ingredients that have been cooked
in liquid and served in the resultant gravy.
Ingredients in a stew can include any
combination of vegetables (such as carrots,
potatoes, beans, peppers and tomatoes etc.),
meat, poultry, sausages and seafood. While
water can be used as the stew-cooking
liquid, wine, stock, and beer are also
common. Seasoning and flavourings may also
be added. Stews are typically cooked at a
relatively low temperature (simmered, not
boiled), to allow flavors to combine.
Stewing is suitable for the least tender
cuts of meat that become tender and juicy
with the slow moist heat method. This makes
it popular in low-cost cooking. Cuts having
a certain amount of marbling and gelatinous
connective tissue give moist, juicy stews,
while lean meat may easily become dry.
Stews may be thickened by reduction or
thickened with flour, either by coating
pieces of meat with flour before searing, or
by using a roux or beurre maniť, a dough
consisting of equal parts of butter and
flour. Thickeners like cornstarch or
arrowroot may also be used.