Sometimes I have added too much liquid to my homemade stew. If I don't have time to simmer the stew, to reduce the liquid, I add about a quarter cup or so of instant oatmeal. It absorbs some of the liquid, making it thicker. On top of that, it adds something that is healthy for you.
Sounds like a great idea! I will have to try that too. For my beef stew, I have several tricks I use and I think it's the best I ever tasted. One, the liquid I use is beer (I seldom use water to cook anything unless making stock). Then I add a very small amount of celery flakes (maybe a teaspoon for a large stock-pot full, made with a whole sirloin tip). Then toward the end of cooking time I use instant mashed potato flakes to thicken it. I think this is much healthier than the old traditional flour thickening, and it tastes better too.
Of course, how much of everything you use depends upon how much stew you are making. I like to make enough for the army, which is a bit ironic since I live alone (but it freezes well). I love to catch a good special on whole sirloin tips, cut one up stew-size with an electric knife, and use the whole thing for beef stew. Give it 2-3 days for the flavors to "marry" in the fridge, and then put it into individual serving-size freezer bags and pop them in the freezer. (There won't be nearly as much to freeze after two or three days because you and every friend you ever thought you may have had will have devoured most of it).
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention one of my most important tricks: after cutting up the beef, I rub each piece with fresh-crushed garlic. Then I brown it slightly before I pour in the beer and start adding carrots, onions, 'taters, more garlic, etc. A large stock-pot full (a whole sirloin tip) usually only takes about three cans of beer (and don't worry; the alcohol cooks out) because the meat and veggies provide more moisture.
I found adding pureed pumpkin is GREAT for stew. My DH gives the last word, especially on Cuban/Basque cooking, so when I made the beef stew (I cannot begin to spell it!) I added some pumpkin instead of tomato paste for thickness...and he LOVED it! It mixed so well with the garlic and potatoes, I use it more now. I usually cook mine in the crockpot, so I do not add any water; the veggies and tomato juice from canned tomatoes do it for me!
Adding a handful of rice will soak up a lot too. Good idea on the oatmeal.
when u make stew add water by the cup that way u always known it wont be too much after u find the rite place for how much water mark your pots there
I use instant mashed potato flakes to thicken any stew containing potatoes. Just sprinkle on top and stir in a little at a time until as thick as desired.
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