Stewing is a combination cooking method for cooking smaller pieces of food in liquid after browning or blanching. Liquid completely covers the food during stewing. Stewing produces a very flavorful liquid because the extracted flavors of the stewed food become concentrated during the cooking process. The basic steps employed for stewing follow; with variations noted for brown and white stews:


  • 1 First, sear, sauté, blanch, or sweat the food. For a brown stew, sear the meat in fat over high heat. For a white stew known as a fricassee, sauté the meat in a small quantity of fat over a low heat so that it does not brown.
  • 2 Cover the food completely with liquid, and simmer. (Only partially cover vegetables if they are the main food item for stewing.)
  • 3 Cover and cook on the range or in a 325 F-350 F (163 C-177 C) oven until tender. If meat is the main item, add a bouquet garni ( and a tomato product if making a brown stew) before covering.
  • 4 During the cooking process, add vegetables to the main food item if desired. Stewed foods should be moist and tender when done.