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For other uses, see Stew (disambiguation).
Beef Stew!.jpg
A beef stew
Type Stew
Main ingredients Vegetables (carrots, potatoes, onions, beans, peppers, tomatoes, etc.), meat (tougher meats such as beef), water or stock or wine or beer
Cookbook: Stew  Media: Stew

A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables (such as carrots, potatoes, onions, beans, peppers and tomatoes), meat, especially tougher meats suitable for slow-cooking, such as beef. Poultry, sausages, and seafood are also used. While water can be used as the stew-cooking liquid, wine, stock, and beer are also common. Seasoning and flavourings may also be added. Stews are typically cooked at a relatively low temperature (simmered, not boiled), allowing flavors to mingle.

Stewing is suitable for the least tender cuts of meat that become tender and juicy with the slow moist heat method. This makes it popular in low-cost cooking. Cuts having a certain amount of marbling and gelatinous connective tissue give moist, juicy stews, while lean meat may easily become dry.

Stews may be thickened by reduction or with flour, either by coating pieces of meat with flour before searing, or by using a roux or beurre manié, a dough consisting of equal parts of fat and flour. Thickeners like cornstarch or arrowroot may also be used.

Stews are similar to soups, and in some cases there may not be a clear distinction between the two. Generally, stews have less liquid than soups, are much thicker and require longer cooking over low heat. While soups are almost always served in a bowl, stews may be thick enough to be served on a plate with the gravy as a sauce over the solid ingredients.[1]

Cocido montañés or Highlander stew, a common Cantabrian dish


Lamb and lentil stew

Stews have been made since ancient times. Herodotus says that the Scythians (8th to 4th centuries BC) "put the flesh into an animal's paunch, mix water with it, and boil it like that over the bone fire. The bones burn very well, and the paunch easily contains all the meat once it has been stripped off. In this way an ox, or any other sacrificial beast, is ingeniously made to boil itself."

Amazonian tribes used the shells of turtles as vessels, boiling the entrails of the turtle and various other ingredients in them. Other cultures[who?] used the shells of large mollusks (clams etc.) to boil foods in.[citation needed] There is archaeological evidence[where?] of these practices going back 8,000 years or more.[citation needed]

There are recipes for lamb stews and fish stews in the Roman cookery book Apicius, believed to date from the 4th century AD. Le Viandier, one of the oldest cookbooks in French, written in the early 14th century by the French chef known as Taillevent, has ragouts or stews of various types in it.[citation needed]

The first written reference to 'Irish stew' is in Byron's "The Devil's Drive" (1814): "The Devil ... dined on ... a rebel or so in an Irish stew."[citation needed]


In meat-based stews, white stews, also known as blanquettes or fricassées, are made with lamb or veal that is blanched, or lightly seared without browning, and cooked in stock. Brown stews are made with pieces of red meat that are first seared or browned, before a browned mirepoix, and sometimes browned flour, stock and wine are added.[citation needed]

List of stews[edit]

Main article: List of stews
A traditional bouillabaisse from Marseille, with the fish served separately from the soup
Cochinita pibil, cooling in the pan after cooking
Goulash in a traditional "bogrács"
Dubu jjigae (Korean tofu stew)
Chicken Yahni
A pork stew (ragoût de porc)

See also[edit]


External links[edit]