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These Are The Best Potatoes To Add To Your Beef Stew

bowls of beef stew
bowls of beef stew - Molly Madigan Pisula/Tasting Table

A warm, comforting bowl of beef stew is as classic as dinner comes, but just because something is classic doesn't mean your standard recipe should be taken for granted. With soups and stews, you are layering your ingredients to pull out maximum flavors and build something delicious with lots of depth. The quality of the aromatics and vegetables, the mixture of liquids you use for your stock, and even small amounts of herbs and spices all contribute to the melding that makes the best stews greater than the sum of their many parts.

For beef stew, the most overlooked of those ingredients may be the potatoes. They are tasty and everybody loves them, yet in stew, they are usually just viewed as a filler; a way to cheaply make this a more substantial meal. Of course, this isn't the case: The right potato is a big part of what makes a stew great, and for our old fashioned beef stew recipe, the right choice was Yukon Gold.

There is no real wrong answer for your beef stew potatoes — russets or red potatoes will work fine — but Yukon Gold potatoes have the best balance of texture and flavor to complement a meaty stew. Russets are often the suggested potato for stew because their starch can help thicken the broth, but they also break down too easily, whereas Yukons have some thickening power of their own while still retaining a hearty, solid bite.

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Read more: 23 Types Of Potatoes And When To Use Them

Yukon Gold Potatoes Will Get Tender Without Breaking Down In Beef Stew

Yukon Gold potatoes
Yukon Gold potatoes - HannaTor/Shutterstock

In the potato categories of starchy vs. waxy, Yukon Golds fall into a middle ground sometimes referred to as "all-purpose" potatoes. While that can give them a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none feeling that makes starchy russets better for crispy fries and waxy red potatoes great for roasting, that middle-ground texture is perfect in stews.

Most beef stew recipes rely on ingredients like flour coating the beef or reducing the liquid as it cooks to help thicken the stew, so while a little extra potato starch helps, you don't actually need as much as russets will give you. Waxy potatoes won't get to that soft, tender texture you want in a stew. It also helps that Yukon Gold's have a thin skin that's easily edible and makes peeling unnecessary.

Finally, one overlooked part of potatoes' contribution to stews is their actual flavor, and this is another spot where Yukon Golds win the day. Russets are a bit bland and can get lost in the strong umami flavors of beef stew, but Yukons have a more distinct, buttery taste that can add its own dimension while still absorbing all of the meal's flavors like starchy russets. When it comes to beef stew, every little bit of flavor counts, and Yukon Gold potatoes make your meal that much more complex and complete.

Read the original article on Tasting Table