A stew is a combination of solid foods that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy.

Generally, any combination of vegetables and meat, especially tougher cuts suitable for slow-cooking can be used in a stew, but not all of them will give the best flavour.

According to Hannah Duxbury, head of culinary at HelloFresh Ireland, choosing ill-fitting ingredients is one of the most common mistakes Britons and Irish stew-lovers make when cooking the beloved dish.

Among other things, she suggested that there are a few mishaps people make, but can easily avoid with her “ultimate stew builder” guide.

Hannah’s expert formula suggests that every stew should contain a protein, vegetables, sauces and sides that perfectly complement one another in every bite.

According to research by HelloFresh, robust meats like beef and lamb find their ideal companions in hearty root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and onions, bathed in rich sauces like red wine and beef stock.

Meanwhile lighter meats are best paired with slightly tangy or creamy sauces featuring ingredients like white wine, chicken stock, and heavy cream.

When it comes to lamb, the culinary experts claimed that the best ingredient combination consists of onions, mushrooms, potatoes, celery or tomatoes, a beef stock or red wine sauce, and a side of green vegetables or soda bread.

While this will find the base of a great stew, Hannah suggested doing a few other things to level up the flavour.

One of these starts even before assembling the stew, by searing the meat prior to simmering it.

The cooking expert explained: “Stew is such an easy one-pot meal, so it’s no surprise that most people throw everything into the pan for ease.

“But actually, browning your protein before adding it to your stew can enhance flavour by caramelising the meat’s surface and creating a more varied texture.”

Secondly, it’s crucial to allow plenty of time for the liquid to bubble over the heat.

Hannah continued: “Stews benefit from slow cooking to tenderise the meat and develop flavours, so rushing the process can make it less flavourful and tender. I’d recommend simmering the stew for at least two hours for the flavours to really meld.”

While it cooks, continual seasoning is also a non-negotiable in order to build layers of flavour and ensure nothing gets lost in the sauce.

That said, the HelloFresh culinary head also recommended factoring in a rest period to “intensify” the taste of the dish before digging in. Or, go one better and save the stew for a day or two after cooking.

If you’re looking for the perfect stew to make this evening, why not try chef Lisa Marley’s hearty recipe made with a blend of root vegetables.