This process is slow, and should be reserved for tough meats. Use lean meat only. First brown it with some hot fat in a frying-pan; or put a couple of ounces of chopped pork in a kettle and get it thoroughly hot; cut your meat into small pieces; drop them into the fat and "jiggle" the kettle until the surface of the meat is coagulated by the hot fat, being careful, the while, not to burn it. Add a thickening of a couple of ounces of flour and mix it thoroughly with the fat; then a pint of water or soup-stock. Heat the contents of the kettle to boiling and season with salt, pepper, and chopped onion. Curry powder, if you like it, is proper in a stew. Now cover the kettle closely and hang it where it will only simmer for four or five hours. Stews may be thickened with rice, potatoes, or oatmeal, as well as with flour. Add condiments to suit the taste. A ragout is nothing but a highly seasoned stew. The greater the variety of meats and vegetables, the better.
The method given above is the one I have followed; but I take the liberty of adding another by Captain Kenealy:
Stewing is an admirable way of making palatable coarse and tough pieces of meat, but it requires the knack, like all other culinary processes. Have a hot fry-pan ready, cut the meat up into small squares and put it (without any dripping or fat) into the pan. Let it brown well, adding a small quantity of granulated sugar and sliced onions to taste. Cook until the onions are tender and well colored. Then empty the fry-pan into a stew-pan and add boiling water to cover the meat, and let it simmer gently for two or three hours. Flavor with salt, pepper, sweet herbs, curry powder or what you will. The result will be a savory dish of tender meat, called by the French a ragout. It is easy to prepare it this way. Do not boil it furiously as is sometimes done, or it will become tough. This dish may be thickened with browned flour, and vegetables may be added—turnips, carrots, celery, etc., cut into small pieces and browned with the meat. The sugar improves the flavor vastly. The only condiments actually necessary are pepper and salt. Other flavorings are luxuries.