Hearty Fall Stew Recipes

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Take the chill off autumn evenings with a rich, meaty stew.

These rich, meaty fall stew recipes will keep you filled and warm during the coming cold fall months.

Hearty Fall Stew Recipes

ON WEEKENDS WE SLEEP LATER, move slower, breathe deeper. We
catch up with small chores, with last week’s newspapers,
with each other. We have time for food that can’t be
hurried: for bread that needs to rise, meat that needs to
marinate, stews that need to simmer. And we have all
afternoon to savor the rich, warm aromas that fill the

Stews are not fast food, at least not in their initial
preparation. Because the meat must flavor a large volume of
liquid, it needs to cook longer than is strictly required
for doneness. But recipes can be doubled and the extra
portions refrigerated or frozen, then reheated quickly on a
fast-paced weeknight. Since most stews improve after
sitting awhile, complaints about leftovers are rare.

Anyone who can boil water can add some meat and vegetables
and end up with a stew. Of course, boiling hasn’t always
been so easy. While some prehistoric cook could have
discovered the process of roasting by accidentally dropping
a piece of meat in the fire, hot water is rare in nature.
Since producing it requires containers that are both
heatproof and waterproof, archaeologists long assumed that
the stewing of food had to await the invention of pottery.
But it now appears that humans boiled food earlier, in the
shells of tortoises, turtles and large mollusks, or by
digging a hole, lining it with overlapping flat rocks and
clay to prevent leakage, filling it with water, and
dropping in stones heated in the fire. As the food cooked,
more hot rocks were added to keep the temperature high.

These days, boiling is so basic a skill that the inability
to do it is the hallmark of culinary incompetence. (“I
don’t know how he survives; he can’t even boil water.”)
And, in fact, timing and temperature control are less
important than in baking and frying. Oil, for example, can
vary widely and dangerously in temperature; maintaining an
even heat requires a good thermometer and constant
attention. On the other hand, water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and
no matter how long or how hard it boils, it will never get
any hotter. (Actually, the boiling point may vary by a
degree or two with passing high- or low-pressure fronts,
and it drops about two degrees for every 1,000 feet of
elevation above sea level. But the principle that the
boiling point is the peak temperature remains true.) In
short, it’s hard to burn a stew without evaporating all the
liquid in the pot-which requires remarkable negligence or
spectacular distractions.

As food scientist Harold McGee has pointed out, the heat
threshold of water explains why the first step in stew
making is to brown some of the ingredients in oil. The
molecular chain reaction we know as browning, which
produces rich, intense flavors, is triggered at about
310 degrees Fahrenheit. With a maximum temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit, boiled
food will remain forever pale and bland. Meat, flour, and
vegetables such as onion and garlic should be browned in
hot fat before any liquid is added to the pan and
effectively stops the browning process. If browning is done
in a separate frying pan, the skillet should be deglazed
with some of the stewing liquids, to get all the rich
flavors. (“Deglazing” means transferring the meat and
vegetables to the stewpot, adding some stewing liquid to
the frying pan, scraping up any brown bits remaining on the
bottom, then pouring the liquid into the stewpot.)

The recipes that follow are based on a variety of
meats-beef, pork, chicken, lamb and wild game. All will
provide warm, hearty fare for cool weekend nights.

Cider Stew Recipe

3 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 pounds stew beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 medium onions, sliced
3 medium potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into logs
1 rib celery, sliced
3 medium parsnips, scraped and sliced, or 1 turnip, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Mix flour, salt, pepper and thyme on a plate. Dredge meat
in seasoned flour. Heat oil in large kettle or Dutch oven.
Working in batches, brown meat thoroughly. Drain off fat,
then return meat to pan. Add cider, water and vinegar,
scraping up any bits which have stuck to bottom of pan.
Cover, bring to a boil, then simmer about 1 1/4 hours or
until meat is almost tender. Add onions, potatoes, carrots,
celery and parsnips. Cover and simmer another 30 minutes or
until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle in parsley, stir
well, and serve. Serves 6.

Chicken Peanut Stew Recipe

This stew, of African origin, does not keep well, so make
enough just to eat the day it is made.

2 chickens, cut into pieces*
3/4 cup peanut oil**
2 large onions, chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
2-3 tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup peanut butter
1 small cabbage, chopped
3 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
6 carrots, cut up
6 turnips, cut up
12 okra, cut up
1 chile pepper, or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Brown chicken in hot oil in large, heavy pot. Add half the
onion and stir until golden brown. Thin tomato paste with
about half a cup of water, and add paste and tomatoes to

Boil 4 cups water, and pour that into pot as well, along
with salt. While mixture boils gently, thin peanut butter
with some of the hot pot liquid and stir it in gradually.
Reduce heat and simmer for half an hour. Then begin adding
the vegetables, letting each simmer for 5 minutes or so
before putting in the next one. Cook until chicken and all
vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, crush or grind the second onion with the pepper.
Add during last 10 minutes of cooking.

*If desired, chicken may be skinned and cut from the bone,
for easier eating.

**Our test cook halved the amount of oil, with good

Beer-Drinkers’ Stew Recipe

Alaskan Gordon R. Nelson explains the origin of his recipe:
“This is a peppy but not overpowering stew that requires
plenty of cold beer. The friend who first served it to me
also made the beer we drank. On the morning of the third
day I spent at his house, he sobered up long enough to
scratch the stew recipe on a paper sack, just before I
caught a plane home. He didn’t name it, so I did my best.”

3 pounds stew meat (moose, venison, beef, what-have-you), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice (lemon’s OK too, what the heck)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 12-ounce can V-8 juice
2 tablespoons salad oil
2 cups thinly sliced onions
1/4-ounce can green chiles
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 15 ounce can tomatoes

Combine vinegar, lime juice, chili powder and V-8 juice in
bowl. Add meat and marinate 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Heat oil in large frying pan or Dutch oven, and saute
onions, chiles and garlic over low heat. When onions are
translucent, add ginger, turmeric and salt. Mix well and
add tomatoes, breaking them with a spoon. Next add meat and
marinade to the pan and simmer, stirring often, 1 1/2
hours. Add water if more liquid is necessary. When meat is
tender, the stew is done.

Serve straight from the pan to deep bowls, accompanied by
hard rolls and beer. Serves 6. With beer!

Brunswick Stew Recipe

2 medium chickens, cut up
2 pounds beef shin bones
1 ham bone
1 squirrel, cut up
3 quarts water
1/2 cup sugar
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 onions, sliced
4 cups peeled, chopped fresh tomatoes (or 2 1-pound cans)
2 cups chopped celery with tops
2 cups butter beans or baby limas
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut up
2 cups cut okra
4 cups corn
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 pod red pepper, crushed, or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed
1 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste

In large soup kettle, combine chickens, beef bones, ham
bone, squirrel, water, sugar, bay leaf, basil and parsley.
Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until meat falls
from bones (2 hours or so). Remove bones and meat from
broth, and set aside to cool. To the pot add onions,
tomatoes, celery, beans and potatoes.Cook over low heat
until vegetables are tender, about another 45 minutes to an
hour, stirring frequently. When meat is cool, remove from
bones and cut into pieces. Add to stew, then add corn and
okra. Simmer until tender, then stir in butter, red pepper
and black pepper, adding salt to taste. Stir constantly for
15 minutes or until mixture is thick and mushy. Serves 10.

Green Chile Stew With Pork Recipe

Jeff Smith, better known as “the Frugal Gourmet,” put this
recipe together from memory, in an attempt to duplicate a
Pueblo stew he and his wife, Patty, were particularly fond
of. “Patty and I serve this with a big green salad and a
pile of wheat tortillas,” he says. “Then we take the
telephone off the hook!”

3 pounds boneless pork, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons peanut oil
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, diced
7 green chiles, roasted, peeled and chopped*
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth or water to cover (not bouillon)
Salt to taste
La Victoria brand salsa jalapeno (if you dare)

Brown pork in oil, doing so in 2 or 3 batches. (If you have
one, use a large black frying pan so the meat will brown
quickly.) Place the meat in a 3- or 4-quart covered oven
casserole, and add celery, tomatoes, chiles and garlic.
Deglaze frying pan with chicken broth or water and add to
the pot. Barely cover the ingredients with chicken broth or
water. Broth may make this too rich for you, so you might
try just water or half of each. Cover and simmer until stew
is thick and the meat very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add
salt to taste before serving. If the stew is not hot enough
for you, add a bit of La Victoria salsa jalapeno. This is
wonderful, but be careful. It’s hot!

Pueblo tradition calls for the addition of corn or potatoes
to this dish, but many people prefer it without. It makes a
wonderful filling for enchiladas.

*To roast chile peppers, place whole pepper directly on gas
burner on high heat, or place as close as possible to hot
broiler. Roast until pepper is blistered and blackened,
then wrap in damp paper towel for 10 minutes. Slip skin off
by pulling downward from the stem end. Scrape off any
remaining black specks with a paring knife.

Irish Stew Recipe

This traditional dish consists of layers of lamb, potatoes
and onions; the layers mix when you ladle out a serving.

6 medium potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
3 large onions, peeled and sliced
3 pounds lean boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Water to cover

In a large, ovenproof casserole, arrange half the potatoes
in a layer, and cover with half the onions. Add all the
lamb pieces, and sprinkle with seasonings. Add the
remaining onions, and top with the rest of the potatoes.
Season with salt and pepper, and add water to cover. Cover
and bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until meat is
tender. Serves 6.

Rabbit and Wine Stew Recipe

2 tablespoons oil
1 2-1/2 – or 3-pound rabbit, cleaned and cut up
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound mushrooms
1 pound small white onions
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1-1/2 cups red wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

Heat oil in large saucepan or Dutch oven. Sprinkle rabbit
pieces with salt and pepper, and brown lightly on all
sides. Drain off fat and add mushrooms, onions and garlic;
cook about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add remaining
ingredients, bring to boil, and simmer about 45 minutes, or
until rabbit is tender. Serves 4.

Mulligatawny Stew Recipe

2 medium onions, sliced
1/2 cup carrots, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
3 tablespoons butter
1 3-1/2- to 4-pound chicken, cut up
1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons salt
2 quarts water
1/2 cup coconut, to garnish

In large stewpot, saute onions, carrots and celery in
butter until translucent. Add chicken and cook about 20
minutes, turning the pieces occasionally until they turn a
golden brown. Stir in yogurt, curry powder, garlic,
turmeric and salt, and cook another 20 minutes. (Be
careful; the yogurt mixture can burn, so stir now and then,
and lower the heat, if needed.) Add water, cover, and
simmer 1 hour, or until chicken is very tender.

Remove chicken pieces from the pot, pull the meat off the
bones, cut it into bite-size chunks, and return them to the
pot. Reheat stew if necessary. Garnish each serving with a
sprinkle of coconut. Serve with boiled rice, if desired.
Serves 8.