Stews are especially favored during winter. While it is probably much easier and hassle free to use a slow cooker, I personally prefer making my stew the good, old fashioned way—that is braising the meat and other ingredients for hours on a pot.
I admit that more work is involved but somehow the end result come out more hearty and satisfying. Not all stews, however, are created equal. You need to employ what they say as braising basics.
First of all, the kind of pot you use is very important. A heavy pot will give a concentrated flavor. I rely on my Le Creuset pot. You can however, get Staub or any other brand of enamel coated cast iron with tight fitting lids that are ideal for braising.
Browning the meat after it is patted dry is key. They have to be seared in batches and caramelized to get that rich flavor. It is also important to use tongs in turning and removing the meat from the pan so that the juices stay intact and not pierced.
Lastly, oven or stove top? I love slow oven braising. It cooks more evenly without maintenance.
There you have it. As I was writing this post, I was salivating and imagining a hearty bowl of stew right in front of me.