Frozen stewing beef can be successfully and easily cooked. Stew meat usually comes precut into small chunks and in 1-lb. packages. This amount of frozen beef can be prepared with a small adjustment in cooking time to allow the beef to defrost, cook and become tender. You can use three methods to produce fall-apart tenderness: a heavy pot, a slow cooker or an oven.
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Heavy Pot Selection
A heavy pot or skillet with a lid is necessary. A perfect choice is a dutch oven, often made of cast iron or ceramic coated cast iron. A cast iron skillet also works well. A heavy copper or aluminum pot is a second choice; the idea is to have enough steady surrounding heat for a long period of time. Lighter pots conduct too much heat too fast and can scorch the meat.
Cooking Frozen Beef
Pour 2 tbsp. of oil in the pot and add the beef. Cook for 10 minutes on medium heat until the chunks break loose from the initial frozen pack. Stir once to evenly distribute the beef, add stock to cover the beef, put the lid on the pot and simmer until the beef is tender, about 1 1/2 to two hours.
Slow Cooker Method
A slow cooker is the perfect vehicle for beef stew, even with frozen meat. Put the frozen chunks in the slow cooker and set on low. After two hours, stir chunks to evenly distribute in the bottom of the cooker. Turn heat to high to sear the meat on all sides, then layer in vegetables, seasonings and a small amount of liquid, and set on low for 10 to 12 hours.
Place frozen beef in an oven-proof 2-quart dish with a lid, or use a small roasting pan with a lid. Pour 1/4 cup of liquid over the frozen beef and put on the lid. Place in a 350-degree oven for one hour. Stir to evenly distribute the chunks, add 1 1/2 cups of liquid, and turn heat down to 325 degrees. Cook for two hours or until beef is tender.
- "Better Homes and Gardens": Slow Cooker Family Dinners; JG Press; 2010
- "The Taste of Home Cookbook"; Ed. Janet Briggs, Beth Wittlinger; Reiman Media Group, Inc.; 2006