I always go like this, easy and no burning spots; sear the pieces of meat on a very high temperature in a frying pan, just a few at a time, then add them to the Le Creuset pot in which is already gently sweating an onion and/or garlic on low heat. You may have to add a little extra butter to the pan between batches to prevent the grease in the pan to burn. After all meat is seared, add the stewing liquid (wine, beer, stock..) to the frying pan and gently scrape all caramelized bits from the bottom. After the liquid is warmed through, add it to the pot. Pouring warm liquid over the stew is essential but mostly forgotten..!!!
Dusting meat before it's seared isn't very helpfull. It prevents the meat from nicely browning, also an essential part of a nice stew; it colors the sauce! When you want to have a nice thicker sauce, you can add some flour to the pot where the just seared meat is added to, before you add the liquid which is warming in the pan. The meat is still on low fire but now in the Creuset. Let the flour get some grease from the pot by stirring the meat around. Only then you can add the warm liquid.
I always make stews like this, ...any stew. This is not my gospel, I learned it from more experienced people and I'm still very happy with this knowledge.
BTW Koukou, I thought stifado was rabbit stewed in a terracotta pot? One of my favorite greek dishes.
The flouring after the searing may raise a few eyebrows, that I'm sure. Flouring meat and fish before or after searing, has 2 different purposes.
- You dust meat/fish with flour before searing when it's quite delicate. You need to keep it together and prevent from sticking to the pan/pot and falling apart.
- Secondly there's the flouring after the searing, like in stews. Here the meat needs to be thoroughly browned first or the sauce will not color and the stew will taste very bland. Here the flouring serves to thicken the sauce.
Edited by ChrisBelgium - 1/4/11 at 5:08am