The fundamentals of making stew are easy and when properly executed the final dish is rich, savory and well suited to cold nights of autumn and winter. Stews can be served over rice or noodles or with a crusty bread. Their consistency can be thick from the natural starch of potatoes in the recipe or thinner like a soup. I like to make a batch or two of stew in autumn and keep them stored in the freezer. They work well for a quick meal when the daylight hours grow shorter and time seems to scurry away.
Beef stew is a common winter food. It is a hearty and filling comfort food.
Cassoulet is a type of stew popular in France. Perhaps more accurately a casserole. Rich and hearty – I’ve written about it in a previous post here.
Lamb stew a favorite of the Irish. The lamb stew in the picture was made with curry for a little different dimension in flavor. In traditional European cookery lamb is most commonly seasoned with rosemary and other Mediterranean herbs. In China lamb is popular but most often seasoned with coriander. Coriander is the seed from the plant more commonly known as cilantro. I can tolerate coriander, but the fresh leaves of cilantro seem to upset my stomach and taste like soap. Go read this link to learn why so many people agree with me about cilantro. Hint; it’s genetic.
Ratatouille is a sort of vegetable stew made with a variety of summer squash, onions, tomatoes and garlic.
Maybe it is really not a stew in the strict sense of the word. Perhaps a vegetable melange would be more accurate.
Pork Adobo is originally from Spain, but there are several variations on this theme. One of my favorite versions is from the Philippines (formerly a colony of Spain). I learned it while visiting friends there and the secret ingredients that make this style of Adobo unique are rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and cinnamon.
Here is a great recipe for Carbonade of beef. This is a Flemish (Belgium) dish made with beer and caramelized onions.
Chili con carne (with meat) is a spicy type of stew with beans, meat and tomatoes commonly found in Latin cooking. There are numerous variations according to regional customs, familial traditions, as well as personal preferences. This particular recipe incorporates chocolate and beer!
Fish stew – also know as Bouillabaisse is another French creation from the region of Provence.
It is late in the winter season, almost springtime. So, these hearty dishes may be too rich and filling for this time of year. Keep this link on file and try them in autumn when the weather turns cold.