Monday, 26 January 2009

in a bit of a stew

So the doctor called me the other day to tell me that I dont have anything strange growing in me after my trip to India and then proceeded that lovely sentence with the word "yet". As a result I have been sticking away from anything my Grandparents would have deemed strange food and decided to go all wholesome and make a stew.

Now a few things should be noted here about said decision to make a stew:
  1. I gave up eating pork, beef and lamb when I was 16. Much as it pains me to mention this thats a few more than 5 years ago. The last time I ate a significant amount of red meat I was fairly ill for 2 days.
  2. Im not vegetarian, I dont even pretend to be, so dont go giving out to me. I just stopped eating meat because I didnt really like it and was back from a trip to France where I saw far too much blood for my liking on plates. Ive decided that 2009 is the year to be a bit more adventurous and try it again. Im no longer 16 so maybe my tastes can be changed?
  3. When I did eat meat I hated stew, hated it with a passion. I didnt like the barley, the sinewy lamb, the half boiled carrots, the smell, anything about stew.
  4. I have no idea what made me think that making stew was a good idea, theres sometimes that it just feels like the right thing to be eating. That time just happened to coincide with me being afraid I had a parasite living in my stomach so its worth documenting.

This recipe is very much one that I pulled together by googling stews and realising that there was nothing on the Interwebs that exactly matched what I had to eat in my house. The weather has been miserable so I really didnt want to leave the house to go to the supermarket.

Im not saying this is the best stew in the world, just that its easy to make and if you are afraid you might have something living in your stomach then you may just feel adventurous enough to give it a try. Of course even if youre not afraid of a non existant parasite which you have already named then you may feel like some stew anyway.

The everything in my fridge stew

The measurements are in handfuls as I didnt weigh anything. You dont need to be too accurate.

  • Handful of chopped chicken breasts (2 breasts will probably do the job)
  • Handful of chopped pork
  • 2 smoky bacon rashers
  • Handful of chopped mushrooms
  • Handful of chopped carrot
  • 2 Handfuls of baby potatoes or large potatoes chopped small
  • 1 large onion quartered
  • 1 Handful of chopped leeks
  • 1 Handful of chopped mushrooms
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 pint of vegetable stock (or meat stock if you prefer)
  • the leftover bit of a bottle of white/red wine (this was probably one very large glass)
  • Some oil for frying
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour/ground arrowroot

Heat some oil in a frying pan and brown the meats slowly. While you are doing this you can be chopping all the veg. Remove the meat to a casserole dish.

Throw the veg into the pan for a few minutes and then remove to the casserole dish aswell.

Pour your wine and stock into the casserole dish (mine is an 18cm Le Creuset dish which is about enough for 3 hungry people). Season with some salt and pepper and add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick.

Cover with lid and put into an oven pre-heated to 180C. Leave for an hour or so, or until the carrots and baby potatoes are no longer rock hard.

Remove from the oven and strain as much as possible of the sauce from the casserole dish into a saucepan and put it on a lowe heat. Mix up a few teaspoons of cornflour or ground arrowroot (only found this in the supermarket recently when they had no cornflour but works great) with some water into a paste and then add to the saucepan. Bring slowly to the boil whisking all the time. This should give you a nice thick gravy which you can then add back to the casserole dish before putting into bowls and eating.


  1. I wouldn't give out to anyone for being vegetarian, or making other food choices for that matter, each to their own. I also know about the whole foreign parasite business, having come back from Bolivia once with more than I bargained for. Luckily the effect was short-lived, if unpleasant, but it certainly does have the effect of making one steer away from those "strange" foods!

  2. dying to get back to my strange foods just giving the old tummy a rest for a while first!


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