A Squeeze Of Orange Juice Is The Key To Deliciously Tender Beef Stew

For those cold nights when you need something immensely cozy but aren't sure what to make, beef stew is the way to go. The dish is extremely rich with a warm, enveloping flavor. Every iteration of the classic dinner is delicious, but if you want the most tender version, you need a quintessential breakfast item: orange juice.

Good beef stew is nuanced with a bit of tang that makes you crave another bite so you can savor that initial richness. Wine or balsamic vinegar can be used to get that slight sour note, but orange juice is our pick. Amongst all the ingredients that will add more flavor to beef stew, orange juice reigns supreme. The drink brings some much-needed sweetness, brightness, and tanginess to beef stew. Acidity is an underrated component for stew, but not just in terms of flavor. Thanks to the malic, ascorbic, and citric acid found in OJ, your dish will turn out extremely supple. A splash of orange juice makes for a tangy, flavorful steak tenderizer, and it's no different for beef stew.

When making beef stew with orange juice, cook the meat like you normally would. After searing the meat and adding the stock, wait to add the orange juice until the stock has been brought to a boil. For a large pot of beef stew, around ½ cup of juice is enough, as you don't want it to completely overwhelm the flavor.

What flavors go well with orange juice in beef stew?

The mellowed sweetness of orange juice pairs well with the fresh thyme, bay leaves, and garlic found in old-fashioned beef stew, but you can always spruce it up with spices that complement the specific taste of the citrus. To give it more of a starring role in your recipe, spring for flavors that bring out its flavor.

Warming spices generally pair well with orange juice, and this aromatic ginger-garlic beef stew can prove that. The dish features Chinese five spice mix, star anise, and brown sugar, a heady combination that's perfect for the bright sweetness of orange juice. You can marinate the beef in orange juice with the warming spices or simply add a splash once the stock starts to simmer.

If you do prefer your beef to have that classic herbaceous flair, stick with herbs that are as woodsy and earthy as possible to temper orange juice's honeyed flavor — rosemary, sage, and oregano are some great choices. Served alongside twice-baked sweet potatoes or crispy smashed broccoli, this dinner is sure to be a hit.