How do I tell the difference between beef stew that is overcooked vs. still needs more cooking?

Tonight, I simmered 2 lbs of chuck stew in water. After an hour it looked like it was dyed out.

The simmer was very gentle. Not at all a bubbling cauldron.

I probably should have simmered it much longer.

My questions is, how can you tell when your meat needs more simmering vs. you have simply overcooked it.


8 Answers

  • 1 year ago
    Favourite answer

    the meat will be tender....taste it.

    I brown the seasoned meat first, very well, right in the stew pot because you don't want to lose any of the browned bits as that is all free flavor.

    Then I add bay leaves, onions, celery, carrots and enough beef broth to just cover it. Salt and pepper again if needed. Bring to a boil and cover it. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook till most all the liquid is gone. Taste the should be melt in your mouth tender. If not, add more liquid and simmer some more, till it is that tender.

    At that time, add diced potatoes, and what ever else veggie you like, maybe some more broth and cook till the veggies are tender and you have rich stew with great intense flavor.

    EVERY chef in the world tastes continuously during a cooking process. How else do you know if something is done.

    Sure, you can use a timer which is great for cakes and other baked items you make often but cooking is a whole different process.

  • CB
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    You should really find a stew recipe and follow it - one of the easier things to make well.

  • 1 year ago

    It's unclear what you wish to define as overcooked in the case of stews because generally, overcooked suggests that there are unfavorable consequences, such as grilling chicken breasts for too long and it becoming dried out. When it comes to stew and meat in particular, cooking it or simmering it for longer periods of time won't necessarily overcook it, but rather determine how tender the meat will be. And, Since how soft/tender the meat desired is usually a personal preference, determining when it's overcooked for you is subjective.

    In your case you mentioned the meat appeared "dyed out" which I'm not sure what you meant but i presume it just had an odd color or tint to it. Therefore, generally the only thing that you can really overcook would be any vegetables you've added (where they break apart in the stew).

    To clarify, did you mean you simmered beef chuck roast (the type of meat cut used) or did you mean chuck *in* stew? In any case, depending on how you cut the meat up (size of cubes or pieces) will determine the needed cooking time until "well done." After well done, "overcooked" would apply to the various stages of how tender the meat got.

    Based on the way you posed your question though, it sounds like you were hoping to cook it as quickly as possible since you want to know when to simmer longer or when it's overcooked (and implies when it's done). So if you don't need tender beef in your strew nor do you need to extract the beef flavor into the water and to more simply answer your question, you can just boil the meat instead of simmer it, and depending on the size of the cuts of meat, usually 5-10 minutes* at boiling will cook meat all the way through if less than an inch thick.

    *the range of time depends on the temperature of the meat prior to entering the boiling water

  • Amy
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    Wait, if you simmered stew meat in plain water for 2 hrs it's gonna be horrible whether undercooked or overcooked. I'm hoping you had lots of seasonings and veggies in that water too that you just didn't mention.

    Anyway, you should brown the meat in a bit of oil, in a skillet 5-8 min or so before adding it to the stew pot - oil and any bits stuck to the bottom. Because you've browned the meat it doesn't take long to finish cooking in pot. IMO you can't really overcook stew meat. I usually do it in a crock pot and I leave it on low for the whole day. Things like stew just get better with a long simmering time.

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  • It seems like you may have added too much liquid.

  • 1 year ago

    When the beef is as easy to chew as you want it, that's when it's done.

  • 1 year ago

    Thermometer the beef

  • 1 year ago

    The most accurate way is with a meat thermometer but I usually just cut through a piece and make sure that it has browned all the way through. Simmering it for an hour should be enough to kill any bugs present regardless. Some people eat beef quite rare. It's really more a matter of preference over safety at that point.

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