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Cuts of Meat for Casseroling and Stewing

Updated on June 12, 2010

Stews and Casseroles

Today ze words casseroling and stewing are used to describe meat zat is cut up and cooked very gently in liquid vith uzzer ingredients to provide a meal in a pot. Casseroles and stews are made vith tougher cuts of meat, vhich require long and slow cooking to tenderize them. In zis 'ub ve outline ze ingredients and principles common to all stews and casseroles,

Meat Cuts

Approximate Cooking Time
Beef 2nd Grade: Shin
4 hours
Lean, sinewy meat from the foreleg. Muscles are very elongated in shape and must be cut across the grain into small pieces. Usually sold off the bone, but some butchers will sell you a piece on the bone.
Needs very slow cooking in unthickened liquid, starting from cold. In this way sinews are gelatinized, meat tenderized and gravy acquires a rich flavour. In more affluent times shin was valued for making beef tea and gravy soup, rather than for the meat itself.
Beef 2nd Grade: Leg
3 1/2 to 4 hours
From the hind leg; similar to shin, but less sinewy and therefore better quality meat- especially from the top of the leg rather than the more muscular lower part.
Requires the same treatment as shin, but has a better appearance. If cooked long and slowly has an excellent flavor.
Beef 2nd Grade: Clod and sticking
3 hours
Coarse-grained lean meat from the non-muscular neck and chest area.
Can be cooked by either the cold-start or fry-start method. Add extra flavoring ingredients for best results.
Beef 1st Grade: Chuck and Blade
2 1/2 to 3 hours
Good quality, lean stewing meat from between the fore rib and neck area. Medium grained. Can be cut into fairly large pieces.
Among the best cuts for casseroling, with good flavor and texture. Can be cooked by the fry-start method. Chuck is sometimes braised in a piece.
Beef 1st Grade: Skirt
2 to 2 1/2 hours
Thin pieces of meat from inside the rump, flank or rib area. The meat is made up of long fibres so it is important to cut across the grain.
Don't be put off by the appearance; this well-flavored, lean cut can be cooked by the fry-start or cold-start method. A favourite cut for pies and puddings
Lamb or Mutton: Middle-neck and scrag
2 to 3 hours
Very bony cut, but tender with good flavor. Makes rich flavored gravy. Usually cut into chops by the butcher. Mutton may be rather fat.
Traditional cut for hot-pots and Irish stew, which needs slow gentle cooking by the cold-start method. Young lamb is sometimes cooked by the fry-start method. Always rinse off splintered bone in cold water before cooking. Trim fat from mutton.
Lamb or Mutton: Breast
2 hours
Economical long thin strip of meat containing rib bones, skin and fat. Larger, meatier breasts are better value than those from very young lambs.
Can be cooked by cold-start or fry-start method. It is essential to remove fat before or after cooking. Additional flavorings are necessary. Can be used with a less fatty cut.
Lamb or Mutton: Shoulder
1 1/2 to 2 hours
A better quality cut, more often used for roasting or braising, which can also be boned and skinned, then cut into large cubes for stewing.
Cook by the fry-start method. Use skin and bones for making stock. Trim away excess fat from meat.
Pork: Belly
2 hours
The thick end of the belly consists of coarse but fairly lean meat. Rib bones may be included. The streaky end is interleaved with fat.
For an all-pork stew use the leaner thick end. A proportion of streaky, especially pickled streaky, is often added to casserole of lean beef or poultry. Can be cooked by the cold-start or fry-start method.
Pork: Hand
2 hours
Coarse-grained but lean shoulder cut. Ask ze butcher to bone it for you.
A good cut for stewing usually cooked by the fry-start method. Additional flavoring ingredients are necessary.


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    • Marty Chefman profile imageAUTHOR

      Marty Chefman 

      8 years ago

      Next veek, ze 11th of June to be precise, ve vill be doing Cold-Start Stews and Casseroles!


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