Top tips for the perfect stew
Learn some easy tips on bubbling, comforting stews with some delicious recipes to boot.
With winter approaching we find ourselves longing for good old hot
Whether it’s belly-warming South African bredies and potjiekos
over the coals, rich and flavourful beef bourguignon and coq au vin, comforting
Irish stew or melt-in-your-mouth osso bucco.
These bubbling pots of
deliciousness fill our homes with aromas that conjure up all sorts of nostalgia
and food memories.
Trick to a good stew:
- Brown the
meat for some extra flavour and to seal in moisture.
- A mirepoix (combination
of onion, carrot and celery) is a great flavour base to any stew.
- If using wine or stock, make sure it is good quality.
- Long and
slow - Cook for a long period of time with gentle heat to allow tougher
cuts of meat to soften and the flavours of the meat and vegetables to marry
Classic South African stews:
Bredies - Afrikaans word for stew. Slow-cooked lamb or
mutton with vegetables like waterblommetjies, greenbeans, tomato, pumpkin or
Potjiekos – Food is cooked
over coals in a 3 legged cast iron pot. Meat(oxtail, lamb or even chicken) and
vegetables are often layered and cooked in a small amount of liquid. Ingredients
are left to simmer slowly without stirring.
Some classic stews from
around the world:
Boeuff Bourguignon -beef braised in red wine,
traditionally red Burgundy, and beef broth, generally flavoured with garlic, onions and a bouquet garni,
with pearl onions and mushrooms added
towards the end of cooking.
Bouillabaisse – Provencal
fish stew made with shell fish, fresh fish
Cassoulet -Rich, slow-cooked casserole
originating in the south of France. Contains meat (typically pork sausages, pork, goose duck and sometimes mutton)
and white haricot beans.
Ratatouille - Provencal stewed vegetable dish.
Coq au vin – braised chicken
slow cooked in red wine, bacon lardons, pearl onions and mushrooms.
Goulash –Typically, slow
cooked beef with tomatoes, red pepper and potatoes and finished off with sour
Irish stew – traditionally a
lamb and potato stew but leeks, carrots and cabbage can also be added.
Gumbo - A thick stew
consisting of seafood and/or meat with tomatoes and peppers.
Lancashire hotpot - a dish
made traditionally from almb and mutton and onion, topped with sliced potatoes, left
to bake in the oven all day in a heavy pot and on a low heat.
of Texan and Mexican)
Chilli con carne -
Traditional versions are made using chilli peppers, garlic, onions, and cumin, along with chopped
or ground beef. Beans and tomatoes are frequently included. Served with nachos,
tortillas, cheese and guacamole.
Tagine/Tajine - Moroccan tagines
combine lamb or chicken with a variety of ingredients or seasonings. Renowned
for the use of fruits such as quinces, apricots, raisins, dates, nuts, with fresh or preserved lemons. Ground cinnamon, saffron, ginger, cumin, paprika as well as a spice blend 'ras el hanout' are used often. A Tagine is cooked slowly in special tagine pot to circulate
the steam for even cooking, resulting in tender meat. Traditionally served with
Osso bucco - a Milanese dish of cross-cut veal shanks braised
with vegetables, white wine and broth. Often garnished with gremolata and traditionally served with
Chicken Cacciatore - to a meal prepared
“hunter-style” with tomatoes, onions, herbs, often bell pepper and sometimes wine.
Cacciatore is popularly made
with braised chicken or rabbit.
- Carey Boucher-Erasmus