Instead of reaching for MSG as a shortcut to Umami Town, consider Worcestershire sauce, light soy sauce (like usukuchi), and/or a dash of fish sauce. Garum has been used for thousands of years to enhance savory dishes; don’t fight it. Just don’t add it too late in the cooking process or you will have a fishy aftertaste instead of the small peptides and free amino acids you’re after.
It’s very funny that so many people use MSG for stews. I’ve always been cooking them without and never needed it. But you have to use very fat cuts of meat + ones with bones (oxtail, …), which is nice since they’re the cheap parts.
I used worcestershire-and-butter browned mushrooms in the example recipe I made last week. Scroll down to near the bottom of the post and click the link.
I just also use MSG because I’m not going to eat less tasty food for the sake of other peoples’ snobbery.
I’m familiar with the use of soy and fish sauce of various kinds (see my reference to Sichuan cooking), but I don’t feel they’re compatible with the flavor I go for in my stews.
I made a boeuf bourguignon last week and added in some smoked beef marrow I had leftover in the freezer. It really upped the ante.
Man, this is the first time I’ve ever seen Bones namechecked in a recipe