WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 30, 2019: Pepperpot - Oxtail, Brisket Beef Tendon Stew at Cane photographed in Washington, DC on May 30, 2019. (Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post via Getty Images).
Food - Drink
Why You Should Stop Adding Thickeners To Beef Stew
Stews are a staple meal in practically every culture around the world, and beef stews are among the most popular. Stews are characterized by their thicker consistency compared to soups, but you don't have to add starchy thickening agents to achieve a proper texture, so long as you stick to a balanced liquid-to-solid ratio.
Thickening agents like flour can dilute the flavor of your stew and give it a gluey gravy-like consistency; instead, you should reduce the amount of liquid you add to the pot for a stew that isn't soupy nor too thick. Flour also doesn't belong in your stew when searing meat, because dusting the meat with flour inhibits browning.
Beef stew usually uses chunkier cuts of meat and vegetables, but even these can dissolve and get lost when stewed in too much broth, which is another reason why you should add less liquid to your stew. If you're still worried about a thin stew, cut-up potatoes are great natural thickeners with both starch and flavor to offer.