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V8 Is The Juicy Ingredient That Effortlessly Elevates Beef Stew

Beef stew with V8 juice
Beef stew with V8 juice - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty

Beef stew is a quintessential feel-good food, and what's not to love? Unless dietary preferences lean vegetarian, a big pot of beef stew checks all the boxes: stewy veggies, soft chunky potatoes, aromatic herbs, and tender slow-cooked meat, all bubbling in hearty, brothy deliciousness. Most beef stew recipes incorporate some version of tomatoes, either fresh, sauced, paste, or canned tomatoes -- and rightfully so. Tomatoes add instant depth and flavor to any stew, plus loads of vitamins and extraordinarily beneficial antioxidants. With all the options for getting that goodness in your dinner bowl, there's one you may have overlooked.

It's called V8 juice, the once-trendy blended vegetable drink created in 1933 and popularized by the likes of pre-presidential actor Ronald Reagan in 1951. It even had its own pop-art roadster created by the designer of the Batmobile and famous vehicles from "The Munsters" and "The Beverly Hillbillies." Originally available in cans with vibrant, artsy labels touting the "vegetable cocktail," V8 still promises easy access to eight tasty, drinkable vegetables. The primary one is, you guessed it, pureed tomatoes. As such, blending it into beef stew recipes is a no-brainer -- with some extra punchy benefits.

V8 juice ups the ante of veggie power in your meal, bringing it via a carefully crafted, balanced flavor profile. The tomato-centric concentration also adds zippy acidity to beef stew, intensifying without dominating the overall dish. There are several ways to incorporate it into a beef stew recipe and a few considerations worth mentioning.

Read more: 20 Popular Canned Soups, Ranked Worst To Best

Transforming Beef Stew With V8 Juice

Beef stew in red bowl
Beef stew in red bowl - Nina Firsova/Shutterstock

A V8 juice infusion is one of the easiest ways to bring new flavor heights, and depths, to homemade beef stew. It's really as easy as pouring it into an existing stew recipe. To avoid a tomato-flavor overdose, you may want to decrease other tomato ingredients in your recipe, such as tomato paste or canned tomatoes. Our Old-Fashioned Beef Stew is a perfect way to experiment with V8 flavor, as it contains no other tomatoes. The liquid in this recipe comes from equal parts red wine and beef stock, so you can just replace a portion of each with V8 juice.

When transforming any beef stew recipe, the timing of adding V8 juice comes down to the cooking method. For typical stovetop stew, simply stir eight to 10 ounces of V8, per taste, into the stew toward the end, allowing about 10 minutes of slow simmering to absorb the veggie flavors. When using a slow cooker, feel free to toss V8 into the mix right away, along with broth, veggies, meat, seasonings, and any desired thickening agent.

In addition to tomatoes, V8 juice contains carrots, watercress, parsley, celery, beets, spinach, and lettuce, so you'll automatically get an earthy mix of concentrated vegetable flavor. For a zesty flavor jump, try the V8 Spicy Hot version. Keep in mind that standard V8 has added salt, so you may want to taste-test after V8 has done its magic, adding extra salt per taste.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.