It doesn’t matter whether you are cooking your stew in the slow cooker or the pressure cooker all of these tips still apply.
Select the vegetable for your stew individually.
Lots of the supermarkets sell packs of vegetables for stew, they may seem like a good idea but if you look at the carefully you will see that they do not represent good value for money, so select each of the vegetables for your stew individually. The other benefit of doing this is that if you one type of vegetable you have more of it and if you don’t like parsnips for example (I love parsnips but some people don’t) you can leave them out. I prefer to get my vegetables from a green grocer because I like to support local businesses, their goods are usually fresher and often cheaper too, but if you don’t have the time for that or the supermarkets have forced all you local green grocers out of business then I will forgive you for buying your vegetables at the supermarket.
Which meats to use.
You can experiment with different cuts of meat, but stews usually lend themselves well to the cheaper cuts so they are excellent if you are trying to save money. However I would recommend trimming off as much excess fat as you can especially if you are using a slow cooker. I like to use stewing steak with a couple of pieces of Oxtail for a beef stew and neck of lamb or a lamb shank for a tasty lamb stew. Using meat on the bone such as shanks and oxtail adds to the flavour of the stew.
Using left overs
Of course you can also use left over meat from a Sunday roast in your stew (it is often better value to buy a bigger joint but only more economic if you are disciplined enough to save some of the meat for a second meal). Also left over vegetables can be used in your stew too.
Cook your stew the day before.
Stew unless cooked in a slow cooker, always tastes better if cooked the day before and left to stand overnight. I usually cook mine in a pressure cooker and make it whilst the current evening’s meal is cooking. If any fat settles on the top it can be skimmed off before reheating. Once reheated you can add thickening if required I tend to use gravy powder in the flavour of the meat I have used, and then add dumplings if you like.