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While some foods are restricted while you’re wearing braces, we’re making it easier to find good-tasting soft foods by offering up some tasty dishes and mouth-watering recipes to try. And there is no better way of cooking to soften food than stewing.

Stews may be either brown or light. In a brown stew the meat is browned before cooking in water; in a light stew, it is not browned. Stews may be cooked on top of the stove in a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid or in a casserole in the oven. Judicious use of seasonings and variety in a combination of vegetables makes stews as palatable as nutritious. A well-cooked stew attractively served with an eye to color combinations, variety in flavor, texture and shape and careful arrangement of meat and vegetables on the platter is a tempting dish. The best meat for stews are beef, lamb or veal, cut up into bite-sized pieces. Seasonings used in stew may be bay leaf, celery seed, celery salt, parsley, thyme, marjoram, cloves, allspice, peppercorns or curry powder. Select vegetables like potatoes, turnips, onions, carrots, peas, string beans, celery, tomatoes and cauliflower. Stews are often accompanied by dumplings or biscuits; if cooked in a casserole in the oven they may be topped with pastry, shortcake or other topping.

DIRECTIONS FOR BROWN BEEF STEW:
-Flour the pieces of meat or not, as desired. Brown them evenly in a small amount of hot fat; season with salt and pepper.
-Cover with hot or cold water; add any desired seasonings.
-Cover tightly and cook over low heat until the meat is tender. As a rule, this will take 1 ½ to 2 hours, depending upon the cut of meat and the size of the pieces.
-Add the vegetables just long enough before the meat is cooked to ensure they’re being done but not mushy by the time the meat is cooked.
-When done, remove meat and vegetables to a hot platter. Thicken stock with flour if gravy is desired.

If you have questions about things you can and can’t eat when you have braces, call Dr. Tao Sun and our helpful team at Tao Sun, DDS in Costa Mesa, California. Phone: 949-645-8887.