Half the time when I make stew with beef, the meat comes out dry. I don't know why that's the case. I admit that every time I cook something, the steps that I follow are probably different from the last time because I don't go by a recipe. It's in my head. So one time I might add the salt at the end, another time at the beginning. One time I might fry the beef for 10 minutes before adding water, and another time I might only do it for 5 minutes. So I'd love to say that the main culprit for the dried meat might be the beef itself, but it could also be me.
These stews are for Persian recipes. What I usually do is cut the stewing beef into smaller cubes if they're really big. I saute some finely-diced onions until they start getting golden, then I add the beef. I stir it a few times and leave it on medium until it doesn't look raw on the outside anymore. Then I add my tomato paste, stir it for 30 seconds or so, and then some turmeric and pepper, and maybe a little bit of salt.
Now, that's the base of my stews. Depending on what I'm making, I'll add or have added something else to it, like split peas. But that's basically the essence of it. I add some water until it just about covers the meat, cover the pot, and let it simmer gently.
I've let it simmer from 90 minutes to 3-4 hours before. It doesn't really make a difference. The meat becomes tender but sometimes it's dry, and sometimes it's nice and moist, irrespective of whether the stew has simmered for an hour and a half or 4 hours.
SO, what do you suspect I'm doing wrong?