Warming food

Stews are one of those foods that most people love yet I wonder how many feel they have the ability to make.

A good stew is made from a few ingredients that cook slowly and ‘marry’ their flavours together.

Stew needn’t be made with meat, or a lot of meat.

If you use meat, it can be of the cheaper cuts so stew is something that is kind on the purse.

I’ve used lamb, beef, pork and sausages before ( not together) and all make wonderful stews

A stew can be just veggies, veggies and beans, dried peas or barley.

It’s the slow, long cooking that makes the stew.

When I was a child in the 70’s when times were hard. My mother would keep the stew going for 3 days worth of meals. Stew and potatoes, then stew with dumplings added and the last day she’d add to the pot barley. I don’t think there was much meat left by then but it was warm, and tasted delicious, better each time it was left on the side covered then re-warmed to steaming temperatures for a further hour or so.


The stew I’ve made today was made before my breakfast. I chopped to onions, two cloves of garlic. Fried them with a glug of oil. When turning a light brown (when the sugars develop) I added the beef shin, chopped. When that was sealed in the oil I added five sliced carrots.

I then added a tin of tomatoes, a small cup of barley stew mix, the remains of the homemade Christmas apple sauce and a good pint of my Christmas stock made from boiling the bones from the Christmas bird earlier in the week. I also added a large pinch of salt.

Now you can add wine, any colour, beer, ale or cider instead of stock.

Bring to the boil cover, reduce heat to lowest or add to a slow cooker. Cook for at least 8 hours.

Serve with, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes or dumplings ( cooked in the stew) rice or pasta.

Any leftovers can be baked in a pie, used in a pasta bake, frozen or put in the fridge and recooked tomorrow. You can purée it an make soup.

I’ve found any root veg will do.

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