A generic term for several cuts of beef that suit long, slow cooking. The most common cuts of beef sold as braising (or stewing) steak include chuck, skirt, leg and flank – all hardworking muscles that are tough and need long, slow cooking. In return these fairly inexpensive cuts will reward you with a rich, unctuous dish that's full of deep flavour. Look for a good marbling of fat through the meat, as well as some layers of fat or connective tissue - these will break down during cooking and add flavour. Stewing beef is often sold ready-diced into fairly small pieces which will break down almost completely during cooking. If you want larger chunks in your dish, or if you know what cut you want, ask your butcher to cut the beef to order.
Article by Louisa Carter