Perpetual stew

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Perpetual stew
A Cantabrian version of perpetual stew
Alternative namesHunter's pot, hunter’s stew

A perpetual stew, also known as hunter's pot[1][2] or hunter's stew, is a pot into which whatever one can find is placed and cooked. The pot is never or rarely emptied all the way, and ingredients and liquid are replenished as necessary.[1][3] The concept is often a common element in descriptions of medieval inns. Foods prepared in a perpetual stew have been described as being flavorful due to the manner in which the foodstuffs blend together,[4] in which the flavor may improve with age.[5]


Perpetual stews were common in medieval cooking, often as pottage or pot-au-feu:

Bread, water or ale, and a companaticum ('that which goes with the bread') from the cauldron, the original stockpot or pot-au-feu that provided an ever-changing broth enriched daily with whatever was available. The cauldron was rarely emptied out except in preparation for the meatless weeks of Lent, so that while a hare, hen or pigeon would give it a fine, meaty flavour, the taste of salted pork or cabbage would linger for days, even weeks.

— Tannahill[4]

The San Francisco bistro Le Central has kept its cassoulet this way for over 43 years.[6][7] Between August 2014 and April 2015, a New York restaurant served broth from the same perpetual stew (a master stock) for over eight months.[8][9][10]


Various ingredients can be used in a perpetual stew, such as root vegetables and tubers (onion, carrot, potato, garlic, parsnip, turnip, etc.) and various meats and game meats.[3][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Slabbert, Joan (2005). Bwana Kakuli. Trafford Publishing. pp. 76–77. ISBN 1412061563.
  2. ^ Fitzpatrick, Sir Percy (1907). Jock of the Bushveld. Longmans, Green and Company. pp. 79–80.
  3. ^ a b (Associated Press) (May 3, 2013). "Perpetual stew". Times Daily (Florence, Alabama). Retrieved 30 March 2014. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ a b Food in History, by Reay Tannahill. New York : Crown Publishers, 1989. 424 p. ISBN 0-517-57186-2
  5. ^ a b Henwood, Rodney (2013). Game Ranger. Author House. p. 105. ISBN 1491875690.[self-published source]
  6. ^ "Home – Le Central". Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  7. ^ Fredric Hamber (28 July 2016). "Learn to Make Le Central's Classic Cassoulet at Home". Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  8. ^ Kravitz, Melissa (26 January 2015). "It's alive! Chef David Santos' stew never stops evolving at Luoro". AM New York. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Louro perpetual stew". Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  10. ^ Sterling, Justine (28 January 2015). "Why You Shouldn't Be Terrified of This Never-Ending Stew". Retrieved 19 September 2018.

Further reading[edit]