Monday, March 9, 2009

In A Stew

March's blustery weather calls for some heasrty meals. A simple dish of stew meets this.It's not only warm and filling but easy to make. Another plus is you can use frozen veggies as well as leftovers to create it. Add some dumplings and you're ready to go.

Stew has been around for millennia. The earliest man (and probably woman) made some kind of dish using foraged roots, leftover meats and water. When pottery was invented, it became easier to make stews and store them. They were first metnioned in Apicius' writings as early as the First Century BCE. In the 1300's the French chef Tallevent put a stew recipe in one of the earliest cookbooks. The famed Irish stew, more of a lamb and mutton stew, was mentioned by Lord Byron in 1814.

Today's stews are just as ingenious and far more tastier than the earlier ones. Use a crock pot to cook yours. It can be left simmering all day while you do other things. You'll have a nice slow cooked meal when it's time to eat. Remember you don't have to use lamb or beef. Chicken and turkey stews are just as good. Pork is another good meat to use because it imparts a rich flavor to the broth ands vegetables too. As for the veggies and spices you can get creative here. You can add any kind of bean , from butter to pinto, as well as peppers or corn if you don' t like the traditionally used cabbage or potatoes. Spices are also important as is a cup or two of red wine. If your family likes a more chili like concoction then add powdered chili and cayenne powders. If you desire a more sophisticated one, then add red wine for the Gallic bouef bourguiognon. Add dumplings the way my great granny Roberts did. Her slicker dumplings always complemented her stews and made them even more heartier.

If the chill and dampness of early March is getting to you, then combat it with a nice warm stew. This is the perfect dinner after a stressful day and rainy , cold ride home. You'll warm up just by thinking about it.

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