dish of meat, poultry, or fish, usually with vegetables, cooked in liquid in a closed vessel over low heat. Prepared properly, the stew never boils, but simmers at about 190 F (88 C), a process that tenderizes tougher foods and mingles flavours. Meats to be stewed are cut in cubes, fowls are jointed, and fish is cut in steaks or chunks. For brown stews, the meat pieces (and sometimes a portion of the vegetables) are seared in hot fat before the liquid is added. Poultry is often cooked a blanc, without browning, as are delicate veal and lamb stews. Root vegetables (carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, and potatoes), tomatoes, and celery are commonly added to stews. The sauce that develops as the dish cooks may be thickened by pureeing the vegetables or by incorporating flour or egg yolks.
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