In the Stewpot
Low and Slow is the Way to Go for Comforting Winter Food
Winter beckons us to slow down, slow cook, share a hearty meal on its chilly days—and what slow-cooking method is more versatile than stew? From Armenian Ghapama (a stew of pumpkin, rice and dried fruits) to Zimbabwean Dovi (a peanut stew), every culture has at least one celebrated stew. And why not? The combination of vegetables, meat protein or legumes and savory stock renders comfort in a bowl without fail.
My winter recipe calls for beef stewing meat and provides four very hearty servings, such that you may have a bowl—or two—for lunch or dinner the next day. If beef isn’t your thing, no worries—go ahead and put that stew versatility to work:
• Substitute lamb, pork or even use leftover roasted chicken in place of the beef.
• Omit meat entirely, use vegetable stock and add leafy greens and mushrooms or cauliflower and lentils for a filling vegetarian option.
• If you’d prefer not to use beer, skip it and increase the broth by 1½ cups.
• Brown chouriço and chicken thighs, pour in white wine and chicken broth, then either add kale and cannellini beans for a Portuguese-style stew or instead try Spanish chorizo and garbanzo beans for a Spanish-style version.
• For an Irish-style variation, leave out the curry powder, use a stout, stir in a bit of Worcestershire sauce and top with freshly chopped parsley when serving.
• To make this stew in a slow-cooker, brown the beef first in a skillet, then place all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours, or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
$19.48 for 4 servings,
$4.87 per serving (using local, grass-fed pastured beef);
$17.52 for 4 servings,
$4.38 per serving (using naturally-fed beef from the supermarket)