Homemade beef stew is a tasty and nutritious meal made of cubes of beef, spices, vegetables and beef broth. It takes time to make the stew correctly and it is particularly enjoyable on a cold, blustery day. Freezing the beef stew allows you to thaw it overnight and reheat it without spending hours preparing it This comfort food is an appetizing entree for lunch or dinner, and provides a hearty and filling meal when served with crackers or another type of bread.
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Beef Stew Ingredients
Cubed beef is usually fried and added to water or beef broth and cooked until tender. Many cooks add vegetables, such as carrots, celery and onion, and spices to the stew once the meat starts to tenderize in the broth. If you are freezing the entree, cook the stew so that the vegetables are slightly undercooked. Reheating the stew allows the vegetables to cook completely before serving. Potatoes are generally a staple in beef stew, but they do not freeze well, and lose their texture and become soggy or gritty. Adding potatoes after you thaw the frozen stew takes little time and ensures potatoes retain their firm texture.
Beef stew must come to a boil and simmer for an hour or two in order to thicken, tenderize the beef and enable the ingredients to meld. Putting hot beef stew into your freezer lowers the temperature in the appliance, endangering the safety of other foods and using more electricity. Remove the hot pot from the stove eye and allow it to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Lower the temperature of the stew by placing the cooking pot into a sink filled with ice water. Stir the beef stew every 10 minutes. Add fresh ice water to the sink once the water warms to room temperature. Continue this process until the stew is at room temperature. Allowing the stew to cool to room temperature may take hours if you do not use the ice water method, endangering the safety of the food.
Use plastic freezer containers, foil freezer pans or rigid, wide mouth containers, such as glass jars with lids, to freeze beef stew. Press the meat and other ingredients down below the broth with a spoon. Leave 1 inch of headspace in the container for expansion. Use containers that hold enough stew to feed your entire family at one meal, or freeze stew in small containers to create individual serving sizes. Allow extra time for large containers to thaw in your refrigerator overnight.
Adding the Potatoes
Wash and cube potatoes in bite-size pieces and add them to the beef stew pot or microwave-safe dish that you are using to heat up the entree. Bring the stew to a boil and then allow it to simmer. It generally takes about 10 to 20 minutes to cook the potatoes to fork tender, depending on the size of your cubes and the reheating method. Another option is to boil the potatoes in a cooking pot filled with water. Remove them with a slotted spoon and add it to the heated beef stew before serving.