The Richmond Register

October 31, 2012

Stews just right for cooler weather

The Food Dude

By Frank Kourt
The Food Dude

RICHMOND — As we pass from autumn into winter, there’s no better meal to prepare than a good, old-fashioned hearty stew!

This time-honored one-pot wonder not only provides a “stick to your ribs” meal for your family on these wintry nights, but also, because it’s a one-dish meal, helps make kitchen cleanup a bit easier, and that’s always appreciated by the cook!

What’s more, a great stew eliminates some of the worry about what to do with leftovers, since stews only seem to taste better on the second or third day!

The secret to a great stew is to cook it slowly, so that flavors of the ingredients and herbs get an opportunity to “marry”, creating a delightful blend of flavor.

Stews may be cooked atop the stove or in the oven. A crock pot is also a great vehicle for cooking a stew because of its ability to cook the dish slowly. All of the stew recipes below can certainly be adapted to the crock pot.

My mom’s beef stew is a very simple, but very flavorful dish, while the boeuf bourguignon is sort of the Cadillac of beef stews, but not really hard to make and well worth the effort.

So, this winter put a pot of stew on the back burner, put you feet up and anticipate a hearty meal that the whole family will enjoy!

Mom’s beef stew

3 lb. stew beef (or a 3- 3 1/2 chuck roast cut up)

2 T shortening

10 carrots, chopped into 1/12-inch sections

6 onions, quartered

10 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

2 tsp. oregano

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 can whole kernel corn

Bisquick mix

Enough water to cover

Melt the shortening in a large kettle and brown the meat. When the meat is brown, add water, seasonings, onions and carrots. Cover and simmer for about two hours. Add corn, along with its liquid, and the potatoes and simmer another 30 minutes. Mix 1/4 cup Bisquick mix to 1/4 cup of water and mix. Slowly stir this mixture into the simmering stew, stirring, until you achieve the thickness you like.

Follow the directions on the Bisquick box for making dumplings and drop them onto the top of the stew. Cover, and simmer until the dumplings are done.

Savory lamb stew

3 lbs. cubed lamb


2 T shortening

3 cloves garlic, crushed

one bunch of green onions, chopped

1/4 tsp. curry powder

4 stalks celery, with leaves, chopped

2 cans potato balls

3 bay leaves

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

3/4 cup vermouth

3 tomatoes, cubed

3 green peppers, sliced

6 carrots, in 1/2-inch slices

1/4 cup vodka

Blend the flour, salt and pepper and use it to coat the lamb. Brown the lamb in a stew pot in the melted shortening, along with the onions and garlic. Add the curry, celery, bay leaves, broth and wine, then cover and simmer gently over low heat for an hour and a half. Add all the other vegetables and simmer for another 30 minutes. Transfer the stew to a covered oven proof casserole and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until the lamb and vegetables are tender.

When ready to serve, gently heat the vodka in a small pot, ignite and pour, flaming, over the stew. Serve over rice.

Brunswick stew

1/4 lb. bacon, diced

1 lb. chuck steak, cubed

2-3 lb. chicken, cut up

4 tomatoes, quartered

3 onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 quart of chicken broth

3 potatoes peeled and diced

1 can or corn

1 bag frozen okra

1 bag frozen lima beans

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce

Saute the bacon in a large fry pan until the fat is rendered. Add the meat and brown. Remove the meat and brown the chicken pieces. Drain off the excess fat and return the meat to the pan. Add tomatoes, broth, salt and pepper, onions  and garlic and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken, remove the meat from the bones and cut into chunks. Return the chicken to the pan, add the potatoes and Tabasco and simmer for about an hour. Add the corn, beans and okra and simmer for about 10 more minutes. Serve with corn bread.

Boeuf bourguignon

3 lbs. lean beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

Salt & pepper


1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup cooking oil

8 slices bacon, chopped into small pieces

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

5 carrots, chopped into 1 1/2 inch pieces

2 large onions, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp. dried oregano

2 cups red Burgundy wine

1 T butter

1/2 lb. frozen pearl onions

18 small whole mushrooms

2 bay leaves

dash paprika

dash fresh celery seed

Coat the beef in flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper and brown in a stew or soup kettle on all sides in the 1/2 cup melted butter and 1/2 cup oil. In a large fry pan, cook the bacon until crisp. To the bacon, add carrots, chopped onion. Garlic and parsley, and sauté until the onion is golden brown. Drain off the grease and add to the beef. Add the two cups of burgundy, using more, if necessary, to cover the meat, then add the oregano, bay leaves, paprika, celery seed and stir well. Cover and simmer atop the stove for two hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Melt 1T butter in a fry pan and add the pearl onions, sautéing until golden, then add onions to the stew. In the liquid remaining in the fry pan, add the mushrooms and cook until limp. Add mushrooms to the stew and continue to simmer for about 1/2 hour more, or until the onions are tender.

Serve over rice.