What do France, Egypt, Turkey, The United States, and just about every other country in the world have in common? They all have some form of stew recipe- whether beef, lamb, tripe, chicken, vegetables…you name it, there is probably a stew dish build around it. So what makes a stew? And how is it different from a soup? A stew is generally larger pieces of meat, vegetables, or fish just barely covered with liquid and slow cooked at a simmer. Whereas a soup is generally mostly liquid based, with small pieces of meat and vegetables, or sometimes completely pureed. Now that we have that settled, let’s get stewin’.
St. Patrick's Day Irish Stew
This month, on March 17th, many will celebrate the 285th St. Patrick’s Day here in the U.S. Legend has it that everyone is a little Irish on March 17th, so why not indulge in some Irish Stew? What is Irish Stew you ask. Well, as previously discussed, it is a combination of beef (or lamb), vegetables, and a liquid, which in this case will be beef stock and beer! Contrary to how I generally make stew- with stock and red wine- adding beer, or a stout, to this stew will give it a rich, malty, earthy flavor, as opposed to red wine which adds a slight sweetness and acidity to the stew. Both add to the overall flavor of stew, just with slight nuances which make them a little different.
Chef Chris's Favorite Stew Tips
I prefer to make my stew on the stovetop, but there is always the option of cooking your stew in a covered pot in the oven, as well as the ever popular ‘slow cooker’. All methods work well, yielding similar finished stews. I generally choose beef as my protein, and load up with an assortment of vegetables, including carrots, onions, celery, parsnip, rutabaga, and usually potato.
The options of items in a stew are open ended, giving you the permission to put as much, or as little, into it. Maybe you simply like beef in your stew, and that’s ok- it’s your stew, and you’re free to stew what you want 😊.
However, you may plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year. We do hope you’ll give our Grass Fed Beef Irish Stew recipe a try- and use the recipe as a base and make it Your Stew!