It's hard to get excited about stew, at least it is for me. Last night, though, I made a red-cooked beef stew that made me feel pretty good. I took the recipe from Marnie Henricksson's Everyday Asian. The sauce, with its blend of light soy sauce and mushroom soy sauce (not to mention the star anise), was reminiscent of the master sauce, but not quite the same. Henricksson advises boiling the meat for two minutes, then browning it to seal in the moisture. It worked like a charm. The meat pieces with some marbling of fat were moister than the others, but all turned out quite tasty. For beef pieces that looked like crusty brown hockey pucks on the outside, that's quite an accomplishment.
When I reheated some of it for lunch today, I found that the flavor had mellowed and melded nicely. I still have a little left, but it won't last much longer. It's my first stew, I think, and definitely worth remembering as winter creeps closer.