How to steam cook a stew?

shepa1, Mar 2, 9:01am
Hi. My grandmother used to make the most beautiful stews, but of course I never learned how she made them. As far as I can remember she used to put the un-browned meat and veges into a stainless steel bowl (without water?) and then put this bowl into a saucepan of boiling/simmering water. As the steam condensed on the pot lid, it dripped into the bowl to make the gravy. Does anyone know if this is right? I have a feeling it may have simmered on the back of the coal range all day in the 'good old days' so I would assume this method would take longer than normal? Many thanks for any advice!

davidt4, Mar 2, 9:07am
I remember this too, and I loved it. I think the stew consisted of gravy beef cut into small cubes, chopped onions and carrots, salt and pepper, maybe diced swede or parsnip. It was steamed in a covered ceramic basin for hours and hours, and served with mashed potato and a green vegetable.

I think it was called Drip Stew.

245sam, Mar 2, 9:11am
shepa1, what you describe is what was called a Drip Stew.
In one of my many books I'm sure I have at least one recipe for Drip Stew although it most likely is not the recipe that I used a long long time ago when I made what I think was my one and only Drip Stew. Would you like me to find and post a Drip Stew recipe? :-))

shepa1, Mar 2, 9:32am
Thanks so much for your replies. Yes please, I'd love your recipe if it isn't too much trouble. My family might roll their eyes at having a stew in the heat we are having at the moment, but tough :-)

petal1955, Mar 2, 10:10am
Course : Steak
Serves: 4
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500 grams stewing steak
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
1 medium Onion

Preparation / Directions:
Coat steak in flour, and stir in chopped onion and salt and pepper. Place in a basin big enough to fit into a saucepan,and add water to come up 1/4 side of pan. Place lid on saucepan and cook slowly for 2 hours keeping a watch on water level. Add more as it gets low. The steam on the lid of the saucepan drips into the stew making a lovely gravy. Stir every 20 mins or so.

awoftam, Mar 2, 9:41pm
Oh wow have never heard of such a thing! Sounds really interesting. These boards are great for finding out new stuff.

245sam, Mar 2, 10:32pm
shepa1, here's one version of Drip Stew that I have found - it looks very quick and easy to prepare but other than onion, it does not include vegetables as you recall your Grandmother's stew had.

1 Kg cross-cut blade steak
1 or 2 medium onions, sliced
1 packet mushroom soup powder

Into a basin put the pieces of steak. Add the onion(s). Sprinkle the mushroom soup powder over and mix all together (Do not add any liquid).
Place the basin, uncovered, in a covered saucepan of water and simmer for 2½-3 hours. :-))

sampa, Mar 2, 10:57pm
Drip Stew also know as Drip Steak was a way to cook tougher, cheaper cuts of meat before we had such handy items as slow cookers aka crock pots and probably for those that didn't own a pressure cooker back in the days when times were as tough as the meats cuts people could afford. Essentially you flour and season your pieces of meat (and offal like kidneys if you're so inclined) bung them into a pudding basin (as in the type you'd use to make a steamed pud) add veg to suit (carrots, parsnips, onions etc) and then sit this in a large, lidded saucepan filled half way with water. Cover, bring to boil then lower to a simmer for a couple of hours.

The 'science' behind this is the continual dripping of moisture from the steam that gathers on the lid of the larger pan back onto the food being cooked. Hence the name of the dish, not a reference to the person cooking it being a 'drip'.

shepa1, Mar 2, 11:55pm
Have taken the meat out of the freezer for my experiment with drip stew for dinner tomorrow night. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out! Thanks so much for all the help. people in 'Recipes' are all so helpful :-) Oh and 245sam, my Nana was a whiz at making a dollar stretch from living through the depression, so she would have thrown the veges in to make the meat go further. We were never hungry when we visited (quite the opposite)She was over 90 when she passed away and as fit as a fiddle with all her marbles, so certainly didn't do any harm!

awoftam, Mar 3, 3:11am
Its interesting as cooking a stew the 'normal' way i.e. dusting meat with flour, browning, adding whatever and simmering in water for a few hours until succulent and tender would have the same effect yet be less of a hassle I would have thought. I am going to cook a drip stew tho as the method fascinates me - would be a lot drier I assume.

shepa1, Mar 3, 3:50am
I remember Nan's stews as having a richer gravy than normal ones, but I was just a child. and it was a very long time ago! Maybe the meat etc being in a bowl rather than in a pot prevents it 'catching' on the bottom? I'd be interested in hearing back once you have tried it, awoftlam, to see what you thought of it.

245sam, Mar 3, 4:42am
IMO your Nan's stews would have had "a richer gravy than normal ones" because there was probably less gravy but it would have been thicker and more flavourful from the long, gentle, slow cooking time with none of the flavour having been lost from the stew having boiled or simmered because it would only have been the water in the saucepan that would have actually boiled - remember that just as one needs to, for a steamed pudding, you will need to keep an eye on the saucepan so that it never boils dry. I think also that it would be a wise move to slightly elevate the bowl of meat, etc. so that it doesn't sit right on the base of the saucepan - a good old idea was to use a ring band for a preserving jar.

Hope that helps and that you successfully recreate this very fond memory from your childhood. :-))

tex-tickle, Mar 3, 5:10am
I cannot see how the methods mentioned are more hassle than dusting and browning the meat. More washing up too. (always an issue for me :P)

tex-tickle, Mar 3, 5:11am
I'm most interested in feedback from Shepa1.

awoftam, Mar 3, 5:35am
The 'hassle' for me would be remembering to ensure the pot did not boil dry. As others have mentioned on here the benefit would be a richer gravy. Def going to try it; on a Winter's day when I am inside and won't get sidetracked and let the thing burn.

tex-tickle, Mar 3, 5:42am
Oh, I get that. My memories pretty rubbish these days.
To be honest, I hadn't even given a thought to monitoring the thing.

Should that be memory's ? I think so.

awoftam, Mar 3, 6:06am
Not sure you can contract the words memory and is - but who cares lol I know what you meant.

tex-tickle, Mar 3, 6:07am
Well that's at least 2 of us.

juli55, Jan 21, 8:46am
Use a crockpot and half the amount of water and SLOW = drip strew.

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