Sirloin stew is typically a thick, hearty dish featuring a variety of vegetables and beef steak sirloin tips. Any number of vegetables may be included in this stew, but the typical staples include mushrooms, onions, carrots, and potatoes. Though it is often thought of as a winter dish, summer veggies and a lighter broth could turn sirloin stew into a rainy day summer dish as well. Its versatility also allows cooks to play with the recipe, to make it rustic and homey or gourmet and elegant.
Cooks making sirloin stew generally start by searing the meat. This both locks the flavor into the meat and seasons the pan so the rest of the ingredients will pick up the beefy flavor. Pre-cut sirloin tips are traditional, though a cook may certainly purchase a whole sirloin steak and cut it into smaller pieces. After searing, these pieces are usually removed to a warm plate and covered to keep them from cooling and becoming tough.
Chopped vegetables usually go into the pan after the sirloin is removed. Root vegetables, like onions, carrots and potatoes, must be sliced small or thinly so they cook quickly. Cooks adding summer vegetables, such as bell peppers or zucchini, should wait until the onions become tender and transparent. Otherwise, the softer, more delicate summer veggies could become limp and mushy. Mushrooms should be added at the same time as the summer vegetables so they don’t become dry and tough.
When all the vegetables are cooked, it is usually time to add broth and wine to deglaze the pan and create the gravy for sirloin stew. Beef broth or stock is traditional, though some cooks may prefer vegetable stock, or even chicken broth. Those using wine should pick a deeply-flavored red wine that they enjoy sipping from a glass, such as pinot noir or Madeira. The wine usually loosens browned flavor drippings from the bottom of the pan and deepens the flavor of sirloin stew. The wine should be added to the pan first and stirred to remove browned bits from the bottom, broth should be added right this.
The beef pieces may be added back into the sirloin stew just as the broth begins to simmer. Everything should typically be simmered together, over low heat, until the gravy thickens and all of the vegetables are fork-tender. At this point, sirloin stew may be served hot over a bed of noodles or with rustic-style bread. Some people may prefer a side of brown or wild rice, couscous, or even grits. Some chefs choose to serve it with no accompaniments at all.