Today I was asked a question about making stew. Did you know that stew (which is two or more foods cooked together in the same pot) has been around since early Roman times? Stew as we know it is probably more closely related to Hungarian Goulash, which has been around since the 9th Century. Dried meat and vegetables were easy to pack and even easier to reconstitute in a pot of water over the fire. The recipe for stew has not remained unchanged. It has been altered and adapted based on the country, the chef and, above all, personal taste. In fact, there is no ‘one’ recipe for stew. One particular site had over 530 recipes for stew! Do you think there is really a wrong way to make stew?? I don’t know of any two people who, by following the same recipe, would produce two pots of stew that tasted exactly the same. I dare say, even the same person, following the same recipe, will create a pot of stew today that tastes different than the pot of stew from last week. Too salty, too peppery, undercooked/ overcooked vegetables, tough meat, too runny, too thick, too hot, too cold, not enough vegetables, not enough meat. You just keep trying, knowing you’re doing the best you can with the ingredients you have. Seems like putting together a pot of stew parallels the life of a mom of a two-year-old, huh?
Sometimes the correct answer to, “When I make stew, do I brown the meat or not?” is simply, “You are a fantastic mom and don’t you ever think otherwise!”