Both the British and the Irish share a deep-rooted affection for a comforting stew, yet each nation brings its own unique twist to this autumn and winter classic.
To celebrate the beloved cultural dish adored by both nations and to help people avoid common mistakes associated with cooking stews, culinary data experts from HelloFresh Ireland have created the ultimate stew builder, which uses data to match the most fitting ingredients so you can craft the ultimate stew.
Simply choose your protein, veggies, sauce, and sides according to the builder to create the perfect stew. All combinations have been selected by analysing the highest-rated recipes from a range of sources to see which ingredients are most often paired together.
According to the research, robust meats like beef and lamb find their ideal companions in hearty root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and onions, bathed in rich sauces like red wine and beef stock. Meanwhile, lighter meats are best paired with slightly tangy or creamy sauces featuring ingredients like white wine, chicken stock, and heavy cream.
Alongside the data-led ultimate stew builder, head of culinary at HelloFresh Ireland, Hannah Duxbury, has unveiled the most common stew mistakes as well as tips on how to enhance the dish even further.
Common stew mistakes to avoid:
1. Not searing the meat beforehand
Hannah states, “Stew is such an easy one-pot meal, so it’s no surprise that most people throw everything into the pan for ease. But actually, browning your protein before adding it to your stew can enhance flavour by caramelising the meat’s surface and creating a more varied texture.”
2. Not allowing enough simmer time
“One common mistake when cooking stew is not allowing it to simmer long enough. Stews benefit from slow cooking to tenderise the meat and develop flavours, so rushing the process can make it less flavourful and tender. I’d recommend simmering the stew for at least two hours for the flavours to really meld.”
3. Adding herbs too early
She explains, “Fresh herbs are delicate and therefore have a tendency to lose their flavour if cooked too long, so it’s best to add these near the end of the stewing process. Add fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, coriander, and dill in the final minutes of cooking or as a garnish to help retain their vibrant flavours.”
4. Ignoring the resting period before serving
“Rushing to serve your stew immediately after it’s done cooking can be a common oversight. To allow your flavours to intensify, it’s best to allow your stew to rest for a short period after serving. That’s why stew can taste even better the next day; it’s a perfect dish for batch cooking!” Hannah advises.
5. Neglecting the importance of seasoning throughout
She says, “Seasoning isn’t a one-time affair; it’s an ongoing process that can significantly impact the final taste of your stew. Some cooks make the mistake of seasoning only at the beginning or end of the cooking process. However, regularly tasting and adjusting the seasoning throughout the simmering time allows you to build layers of flavour and ensure that every element of the stew is well-seasoned.”
With HelloFresh’s stew builder and five expert tips, creating the perfect stew is easy. More delicious stews can be found on HelloFresh’s recipe hub.