Beef-stew tips?

An old friend of mine emailed me; I made some ‘British’-style beef stew for her and her friends a few years back and she wants to know the recipe. I’m very out of practice at cooking and I can’t remember how I made it.

Which would you brown first: onions or beef? Would you pour the fat off afterward, before putting in the stock and other vegetables?

A number of internet sites do not suggest browning the onions at all, but I think it would make the stew a bit sweeter and richer-tasting.

Any other tips?

Brown the onions first, definitely. Fat? Hmmm, I always use a very lean ground beef, so I keep it in…

Ground beef? Are you nuts. What you need is inch-cubed stewing beef. Brown the onions (in olive oil) by all means. But make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the beef and let saute with rosemary and thyme and a little mustard and red wine vinegar.

That should get you started nicely.