It’s easy, it’s filling, and, if done right, it’s very healthy. Maybe that’s why an old-fashioned dish like stew keeps coming back into style.
In general, you want to choose tougher cuts (pork shoulder, beef chuck), which will become tender as they cook. Blot off any excess moisture with a paper towel before adding the meat to the pot; otherwise it may steam, not brown. If the recipe calls for flour, coat the meat just before cooking. In addition, you will probably first want to brown the meat in batches. If it is overcrowded in the pot, you will end up with excess water and less flavor.
Pay attention to recipe instructions on the timing of adding veggies to the stew. The hearty ones, like carrots and potatoes, can usually go in with the meat, but introduce the more delicate ones (peas, mushrooms) too soon and they may become a bland mess. Fresh herbs, too, need to be added toward the end of cooking, unlike spices, which should be incorporated early on.
And when you’re almost finished cooking, take the lid off the pot, raise the heat to reduce the liquid into a rich broth, and enjoy the heady aromas of a lovingly prepared meal.