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Beef and Beer Stew. Veg still barely cooked.


Anna N
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So I am making this from Jamie Oliver. The only thing I changed in the recipe is to use a different beer as Guinness was not an option this morning. (I actually used the recipe in his book but I can't link to that and the differences are minimal.)

You will note that it is simmered UNCOVERED for two hours. Mine has now been simmering for 3 hours. The meat is meltingly tender, the sauce has thickened up nicely but the carrots and parsnips remain hard. I cut them into approx 1/2 inch pieces and they were freshly purchased yesterday.

I am cooking it stove top (induction hob) so it's not a slow-cooker issue with the vegetables. The celery and onions are properly cooked.

You will note that this stew contains lots of canned tomatoes. Could this be the problem? Is the acid in the tomatoes interfering with the cooking of the vegetables? Seems I read of a similar phenomenon with dried beans. Thank you for any insight! I make lots of stews and have never run into this before.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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That's a stumper! Only thing I can think of is maybe the carrot and parnsip were particularly woody (petrified?).

Acid reaction with legumes I can fathom, but not carrots and parsnips. I mean, half-inch slices get tender in a 10-15-minute simmer! By all rights, after three hours, they should have been baby food mush. When I've braised carrots and parsnips in a butter-wine concoction (maybe not quite as acidic as tomato sauce, but still acidic) they've become pleasantly crisp-tender in that short an amount of time.

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced ('til proved otherwise) that you started out with some rogue veggies.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced ('til proved otherwise) that you started out with some rogue veggies.

I agree. In the wintertime, I make all sorts of soups and stews with canned tomatoes and a veritable panoply of veggies. Never a problem.

Your carrots and parsnips must have been really old, or some other similar problem.

ETA: Not to mention that if cooking carrots and parsnips in canned tomatoes toughens them beyond repair, I can't think Jamie Oliver would have advised you to do it. :cool:

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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That's a stumper! Only thing I can think of is maybe the carrot and parnsip were particularly woody (petrified?).

Acid reaction with legumes I can fathom, but not carrots and parsnips. I mean, half-inch slices get tender in a 10-15-minute simmer! By all rights, after three hours, they should have been baby food mush. When I've braised carrots and parsnips in a butter-wine concoction (maybe not quite as acidic as tomato sauce, but still acidic) they've become pleasantly crisp-tender in that short an amount of time.

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced ('til proved otherwise) that you started out with some rogue veggies.

Well I liked your theory at first but I just peeled a carrot from the same batch and ate it raw and it was just fine. I dug the vegetables out of the stew, wiped them off a bit and steamed them in the microwave and they are now fine so I don't think the rogue vegetable theory can explain it.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I've had the same thing happen with potatoes in stew -- not always, but enough times that I now cook them separately before adding them to the stew. It seemed to me to have some correlation with how thick the cooking liquid was, but that could have just been my imagination.

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I've had the same thing happen with potatoes in stew -- not always, but enough times that I now cook them separately before adding them to the stew. It seemed to me to have some correlation with how thick the cooking liquid was, but that could have just been my imagination.

Yes, it is very strange. Initially the liquid was quite thin and only thickened up as it simmered uncovered.

I had forgotten that I also had some chix stock in the slow cooker with the same carrots and they are just fine. There was nothing in the slow cooker other than carrot, onion, chix backs and water. I am more and more inclined to think there is some sort of thing going on with the tomatoes but I'm no Harold McGee. :biggrin:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Curiouser and curiouser. So much for the rogue vegetable theory.

Definitely a subject for Dr. McGee to tackle! I've forwarded a note to him, so let's see if he has the time/inclination to investigate.

How kind of you! I do hope he takes the time to respond. Thank you.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I suspect the answer may be the crockpot one - too low a temperature to cook the carrots.

From the sous-vide thread, carrots want something like 80/85C. Your meat can be "falling apart" at a much lower temperature.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...dpost&p=1563564

The longer time to thicken and evaporate down the sauce would also seem to fit with the idea that the temperature was a little lower than expected.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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I suspect the answer may be the crockpot one - too low a temperature to cook the carrots.

From the sous-vide thread, carrots want something like 80/85C. Your meat can be "falling apart" at a much lower temperature.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...dpost&p=1563564

The longer time to thicken and evaporate down the sauce would also seem to fit with the idea that the temperature was a little lower than expected.

But at the beginning of the thread, she said she was simmering it on an induction burner, not in a slow cooker. The carrots in the crockpot in chicken stock were fine. Otherwise, I'd agree with you.

Edited by Marlene (log)

Marlene

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Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Perhaps a combination of a simmer too gentle in an uncovered pot with a large surface area, is keeping the temperatures warm enough for the meat to cook but not hot enough for the carrots (as Dougal mentioned).

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... But at the beginning of the thread, she said she was simmering it on an induction burner, not in a slow cooker.  The carrots in the crockpot in chicken stock were fine.  Otherwise, I'd agree with you.

My old induction hob ('cook-top') would control to a very very gentle simmer. One of its strengths.

You could even melt chocolate in a cast iron pan instead of needing a double boiler.

It could actually give more gentle cooking than a slow cooker!

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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... But at the beginning of the thread, she said she was simmering it on an induction burner, not in a slow cooker.  The carrots in the crockpot in chicken stock were fine.  Otherwise, I'd agree with you.

My old induction hob ('cook-top') would control to a very very gentle simmer. One of its strengths.

You could even melt chocolate in a cast iron pan instead of needing a double boiler.

It could actually give more gentle cooking than a slow cooker!

But mine is a portable hob and not nearly so sophisticated. It will do a gentle simmer (depending on the pot I use!) but this was simmering more vigorously than I would normally tolerate for a stew or braise where I like bubbles to barely break the surface occasionally. I just don't think this explanation holds up either.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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