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 with flour, either by coating pieces of meat with flour before searing, or by using a roux or beurre manie, a dough consisting of equal parts of butter and flour. Thickeners like cornstarch or arrowroot may also be used.
Stews are similar to soups, and in some cases there may not be a clear distinction between the two. Generally, stews have less liquid than soups, are much thicker and require longer cooking over low heat. While soups are almost always served in a bowl, stews may be thick enough to be served on a plate with the gravy as a sauce over the solid ingredients
Team this hearty dish with a pork or chicken entrée, or just add some crusty bread and make a meal out of it.
Yield: Makes 8 (side-dish) servings
8 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-pound head curly endive, rinsed, leaves torn coarsely
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney beans), drained well
1/3 cup canned beef broth
Cook bacon in heavy large pot over medium-high heat until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels and drain. Set bacon aside. Add onion to drippings in pot and sauté until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add half of endive with water still clinging to leaves. Cover pot and cook until endive is wilted, stirring once, about 4 minutes. Add remaining half of endive and chopped garlic. Cover and cook until endive leaves are wilted but still bright green, stirring once, about 4 minutes. Add cannellini, beef broth, and bacon. Cook bean mixture until heated through, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
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