I'm making Beef Bourguignon for the first time, and I'm wondering if I overcooked the beef stew meat.

I used Ina Garten's excellent recipe, but cooked it for 3 hours (instead of 1.5) as the comments suggested. But now I'm worried I've overcooked the beef stew meat? It's starting to flake apart. And it definitely takes a few chews to get down. Have I overcooked it? Or is this just how beef stew meat works?

  • Posted by: EG1231
  • October 19, 2014


nancy E. October 20, 2014
When reheating stews and sauces containing meat, I was taught that a slow and long reheat keeps the meat from toughening up . It works. Give yourself time to do it slowly. The way these stews can congeal when cold would make for a disgusting job removing the meat.
Cav October 20, 2014
I'm afraid I'm going to disagree with Susan W here.

Stews and braises do not need to be chewy, and can be easily over cooked. And the most common cause of over cooking is over heating. If you cook a stew at a temperature over 180f, unless the cut is very gelatinous, you're going to dry it out. And if the Garten recipe referred to is the one on the Food Network site, she calls for an oven temperature of 250f and covers the pot when it goes in. That's a very, well above boiling point, high temperature for a stew and, if followed, will result in dry chewy meat. (Her recipe also has several other problems for me so I'd very much hesitate to use her recipes as a resource in general).

When reheating a stew I remove the meat first, bring the liquid to a boil, remove from heat and put the meat back. This helps to avoid drying the meat out when reheating.
Susan W. October 20, 2014
Where did I say they need to be chewy or that they cannot be overcooked? I said her stew did not sound overcooked, but fall apart tender. I said she has control over when to pull the stew out of the oven. I happen to like my braised beef not fall apart tender. That's not wrong, just a personal thing. I happen to like my ribs with a little chew as well.

I'm going to have to disagree that 250°f is too hot.
CarlaCooks October 20, 2014
I LOVE beef bourguignon! I usually use a large beef roast, which I cut up into smaller pieces. If you want another go at the recipe, Oui Chef's recipe (a fellow Food52er) is absolutely fantastic. It's the only recipe I use now. It's not a cheap dish (2 bottles of wine, and you can't use crappy wine since you're reducing the sauce so much and the quality/flavor of the wine really shines, for better or worse), but it's a real treat. http://www.ouichefnetwork.com/oui_chef/2010/03/beef-bourguignon.html
Susan W. October 19, 2014
It's exactly how stew meat works, but you can taste it as it cooks and decide how well cooked you want it. It's very different than a steak cooked medium rare for sure. Make sure you eat it with plenty of that sauce.
EG1231 October 19, 2014
OK! And if I'm reheating it tomorrow, should I remove the meat from the pot and heat the sauce separately?
Susan W. October 19, 2014
You don't need to. It only takes a minute to reheat on the stovetop. The meat won't change in the time it takes to heat it. You may find you like it more tomorrow.
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