What stew should I make?
November 2, 2019 8:37 AM   Subscribe

I would like to make a robust stew to eat over the course of the week. I have almost no fresh stew ingredients in my home so I will be buying everything other than pasta, dry beans and spices. What should I make?

For some weird reason, I have just never made a lot of stews so I am having trouble focusing here.

I do not have an instant pot but I do have a giant heavy cast iron pan.

I don't usually cook with meat, but about once a year I make a pot-roast type dish, so I could make a meat dish if it's really good. I'll be home all day tomorrow so I can cook something that takes a while. I don't have any food allergies. I have access to a standard grocery store but all the fancy stuff is across town.
posted by Frowner to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Assuming you don't mind cooking with wine, beef bourguignonseems really good for a once-a-year effort. I wouldn't make this unless there happens to be actual stew meat at your store though. Sometimes there isn't any at my nearest supermarket, or it doesn't look very good.

I really like mushrooms this time of year and if I were going to cook anything today, it would be something like this with chicken and mushrooms. Use more mushrooms than they say, feel free to mix varieties and add some shallots or cipollini onions if they are in the store.
posted by BibiRose at 8:58 AM on November 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

If you want a hearty non-meat-based thing, West African peanut stews are delicious and really hit the spot. This recipe is vegan, but I usually make mine with chicken stock instead. And most of the ingredients are pretty inexpensive, which is convenient.

Alternatively, oxtail soup with barley is also really hearty and good.
posted by sciatrix at 10:08 AM on November 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

Nothing I’ve made from smitten kitchen has ever been bad: https://smittenkitchen.com/2009/01/mushroom-bourguignon/
posted by raccoon409 at 11:29 AM on November 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

This pork stew from The Best Recipe is delicious and pretty easy. (I might not push it for the whole week you're hoping for, but the 3 days' life they claim in the fridge seems overly conservative to me.)
posted by daisyace at 1:16 PM on November 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Just a quick note: if you go with something acidic or tomato-based, you may want to be careful with your cast iron if it's not enamelled or very well-seasoned. I definitely wouldn't store your finished stew in the pot. But you can make stew in just about anything! I just use a plain old cheap stock pot for all of mine, and just stir a lot and cook it on low.

On to recipes! If you feel like meat, I vouch for either of these candidates, as both only improve over time:

Lamb Tagine -- where I am, lamb is on sale right now, so it's surprisingly affordable. I like to double the lamb, onions, and spices, add some smoked paprika and a little clove, and add a few parsnips to the carrots. I also add a few cups of chicken stock and make the simmer time slower/longer. You can change the spices to thyme and swap in potato for the chickpeas (and maybe add a cup of dark beer) if you'd like a different stew-style. Or you can leave out the lamb and make up the difference with another can of chickpeas and some cubed sweet potato for a veg version.

Carbonnade a la Flamande is my favourite beef stew. I recommend using a combination of wholegrain mustard, brown sugar, cider vinegar, and an entire (small) can of tomato paste. I also add a handful of fresh thyme and a handful of fresh parsley when simmering the beef, and remove before serving. Often I'll add some butter-sauteed diced carrot and parsnip for the last hour of simmering to bulk/stretch it out a bit. It's really good over mashed potatoes or buttered noodles with green beans on the side.

If you prefer vegetarian, this red bean goulash is great, as is this white bean and wheat berry vegetable stew. Both are nice and hearty with just bread on the side.

Not really a stew, because it's so simple, but it satisfies me just like a stew and it's so easy and cheap I have to plug it: red lentil soup. Also not a stew, strictly speaking, but you can add a little extra broth or bean liquid to this white bean gratin to make it soupier if you like. It's very flexible -- you can use almost anything you like in place of the celery root, use different beans, use different spices. The celery root is really really good, though. I like it with lots of sage.
posted by halation at 2:12 PM on November 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

The day before yesterday, I made osso buco. I used Elizabeth David's recipe, which is far simpler than the linked recipe, but I couldn't find an online recipe. Basically, you just brown the meat, add white wine, simmer till alcohol is evaporated, add tomatoes and simmer a bit, add chicken stock and then simmer very gently till the meat falls off the bones. Simmer, don't boil is the important knowledge.
With the leftovers, I made a sort of cottage pie.

I think the best thing to cook all day tomorrow would be an oxtail stew. There are tons of recipes out there, all of them delicious.

Just now, I found pork jowls for less than ten dollars, so I'm looking for a recipe with onions and cider for tomorrow. I've done it before and I know apple and pork go well together. We won't be eating it tomorrow, but it will be even better on Monday.
posted by mumimor at 3:05 PM on November 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

I made this squash and chickpea stew tonight, and it was really hearty and satisfying. It could be another nice non-meat option.
posted by Akhu at 6:30 PM on November 2, 2019

This Lamb Stew with Butternut Squash and Chickpeas is amazing. (It’s from the NYT and so might be behind a paywall, but if it is and you want the recipe, MeMail me and I’ll send it to you.)
posted by bananacabana at 7:45 PM on November 2, 2019

You can always go with a traditional chicken stew which is very filling and economical and will keep for a week. Boil the chick about half an hour till the meat falls off the bone. Save the water then debone the meat and add it back in. Slice carrots onions celery mushrooms white potatoes garlic parsley or any combination of your favorite veggies and season generously and let simmer for 5 hours or so. Feel free to cook rice on the side for an even more filling option. It's so delicious
posted by The_imp_inimpossible at 9:05 PM on November 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Keeping a meat-based stew in the fridge for a whole week is asking for trouble! Either freeze some portions to eat later and use the stuff in the fridge up in 3-4 days, or make a veg stew. Even with veg, a week is pushing it.

My favorite stew is oxtail. I brown the tails, then simmer them in a big pot with good red wine and some herbs for a looong time (at least 6 hours but preferably 8), then put some veg in for the last half hour. Leeks, onions, carrots, parsnips all work well. If you want to be civilized you can cut the meat off the bone and place back in pot, but I think it's more fun (if messy) to leave on and let people gnaw it off. Oh also, make sure the oxtails are well-trimmed. Or if not, put the stock in the fridge overnight and peel some fat off and discard before serving.
posted by nirblegee at 1:53 AM on November 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

I am partial to goulash (gulasch, gulyas) made in something like the following way:

3-4 big thick slices of beef shank
3-4 big yellow onions
bacon fat
paprika (real Hungarian sweet if you can get it), salt, black pepper
tomato juice, maybe, or beef stock, maybe
some flour, perhaps

Trim the leg of beast into bite-sizeish chunks, removing the big globs of fatty tissue and most of the tendon, if any. Weigh the lot of trimmed meat. 3#/1.5kg is a good amount. Reserve the bone slices.

Peel and slice the onions, not too thick.

In a large pan (I like a 12" skillet or everyday pan) heat bacon grease, add onions, and carmelize. Remove to a bowl, perhaps kept warm in a very low oven.

Optionally dredge the meat with some flour to coat before cooking.

Add more bacon fat to the pan, depending on what's left. Brown the meat chunks all over, in two or more batches, depending. Remove browned meat chunks to bowl with carmelized onion. Repeat until meat is all cooked.

Possibly deglaze the pan with a bit of white vermouth or something, if it needs it. Return onions and beef to pan, add a cup or two of tomato juice if you've got it, and paprika at 2Tbsp/# (60ml/kg) of meat. Add enough water or beef stock to cover, add the bones, heat over pretty high heat to a good simmer, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for a really long time, stirring occasionally. Really a long time, you never know just how long it's going to take but be ready for like 4+ hours. Somewhere in there the marrow will melt out of the bones into the gravy. Yum. You want to be able to jam one of the meat chunks with the edge of a wooden spoon against the pan and cut it (the meat chunk, not the pan). During these aeons of simmering you will probably have to add more liquid at least once, and you'll want to stir things up from time to time. When the meat is fork-tender, maybe remove the lid and increase the heat to reduce the volume of the gravy a bit. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Stereotypically served with noodles, though my family are spud bigots who insist on mash. Spatzle or dumplings would also work.

Yes you can do it in an instapot, but be prepared to pressure-cook for longer than you might expect (there's lots of collagen in that meat) and be ready for a longish reduction simmer afterwards. The gravy should be strong with gelatine, and you want it to actually thicken up a bit. Using roux or other thickener is cheating, just don't. I think including the marrow bones is not traditional but I like it.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 1:15 PM on November 8, 2019

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