Jacques Pepin's Absolute Favorite Cut Of Beef For Stew

A hearty stew is one of those dishes that are always deeply satisfying to eat. With herbaceous flavors like thyme and garlic that are mixed with potatoes, vegetables, and beef, it's hard to go wrong. It's also easily customizable whether you want to throw in classic veggies like carrots or more unique ingredients like eggplant or even soy sauce. But when it comes to the main star of the meal, the cut of meat you choose is extremely important to create the right flavor profile.

While some cooks prefer to use round cuts of beef or oxtail for their stew, world-renowned chef Jacques Pépin likes to use tougher cuts of meat like a flatiron that's also commonly referred to as chuck meat. This type of beef is taken from the shoulder of the cow and is well-marbled. As it cooks in a low and slow recipe it becomes tender and juicy, making it the perfect addition to your sauce. Pépin also likes to add red wine, chopped garlic, and cremini mushrooms to his savory meal.

Why you shouldn't use just any piece of meat for stew

In order to get the right consistency for your dish, it's important to pick meat that has fat and tissue that will help to create a gelatin-like consistency. One piece of beef that you might be surprised to learn is not the best to use is sirloin. Although it tastes incredible when you braise it, it doesn't break down well in a stew and instead can become tough or dry. The ideal option is chuck meat because it has a medium level of fat and high toughness, making it break down into the perfect tender pieces that are easy to bite into.

Another mistake to avoid when making a stew is putting too much flour on your pieces of beef before cooking them, as it could make your sauce way too thick. It's also wise to sauté your meat in its own separate pan from the vegetables, in order to make sure it's getting properly browned and seasoned. And just like Pépin's version, don't forget to add some wine to your mix because it will help to elevate the flavors by adding some complexity.

If you're looking for a delicious recipe, try making our old-fashioned beef stew dish that combines beef chuck, onion, red wine, garlic, and bacon.