Friday, September 23, 2011

Foodie Fridays: Savoury stews

I like cooking stews.  You dump this whole bunch of stuff into a pot, leave to simmer, and get a nice comforting meal at the end of it.  I used to like using all those Japanese mixes to prepare stews, but ever since Junior J came, I've been trying to make our stews from scratch to avoid adding various additives and MSG.  So here's our own "mish-mash" recipe for beef stew (which my mum turns up her nose at, and refuses to try, since her idea of stew must be one that contains OXO cubes):

Beef Stew (served mixed with pasta)
(Serves 4)

:: Beef (500 g, of a cut suitable for stewing, chopped into chunks)
:: 3 large carrots (sliced)
:: 2 large tomatoes (sliced)
:: 1 can of canned tomatoes (we use Hunt's whole tomatoes, which has no added salt or MSG.  Alternatively if you have access to good plum tomatoes just add 4 more tomatoes instead!)
:: 1 large onion (diced)
:: 3 cloves of garlic (diced)
:: 8-10 button mushrooms (sliced)
:: White wine
:: Herbs (I add thyme and 2 bay leaves)
:: Salt and ground black pepper

1. Heat up 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan.  Fry garlic and onion.

2. Add beef, salt and pepper (amounts you can tweak to your taste by adding more later on if necessary), and stir-fry for 5 minutes, and add half a cup of white wine.  Leave to simmer on stove for about 10 minutes on low heat (I'm ok with adding wine for cooking food that we feed Junior J, but I try to leave it out on the stove for the alcohol to evaporate.).

3. Add fresh tomatoes and mushrooms, and stir-fry for a minute or two.  Dump everything from the pan into the slow-cooker.  Add carrots, canned tomatoes (including the sauce in the can) and herbs, stir and leave to simmer on low for at least 4 hours.  

4. During the simmering process, you may want to add more salt (you can add grated cheddar before serving too!), and top up some water if you feel the stew is too dry.

5. Serve with pasta for a simple hearty meal!

This is one of the beefy meals that Junior J does eat (he's not too fond of the taste of beef, but he loves anything tomato-based).  Usually I prepare this while cooking lunch, such that the meat gets to sweat it out for at least 6 hours, yielding something that's soft and easy to eat for fussy toddlers. :)  If you don't have a slow-cooker, you can leave it on the stove to simmer on low heat as well, but you'll have to stir periodically and add water, or the stew will dry up!

Do you have a favourite stew recipe?  


Do you have any tried and tested recipes for meals suitable for the whole family?  If you have some easy-to-prepare, healthy recipes, do drop me an email at john(dot)jus(at)gmail(dot)com, with the ingredients, steps, and if possible, a photo of the food!  We'll post the recipes on Fridays, with a link back to your blog if you have one... :)


  1. Ooh nice! We love stew too. But we usually dump the meat into the pressure cooker and that way it's lovely and tender at the end of about half an hour!

  2. Evergreen: Half an hour! Pity we don't have a pressure cooker though...

  3. how much wine do you put? is JJ ok with wine in it? and ok to have it whilst pregnant? sorry, just asking cuz i've never done it before and would love to try!

    ps, just replied to your email. pls don't worry abt skyping, etc. you just rest your booty! :)


  4. Oh I was just telling my hubby that I should try cooking beef stew someday but have not gotten down to goggling for a recipe.
    I shall try your recipe and see if the family enjoys it :) Thanks for sharing this.

  5. I love beef stew! Gotta give this recipe a try, thanks! I always like doing one-pot dishes. Do you know of any great websites with a focus on one pot dishes? :)

  6. Just Me: I usually add about half a cup of wine (125 ml). And Junior seems ok with it, and yes, ok while pregnant... just add it while the beef is frying in the pan, and leave it to simmer longer on the stove so that the alcohol evaporates off!

  7. Susan: No worries! Have fun cooking and let me know how it goes!

    Ruth: Ahhh, actually I don't! We love one-pot dishes, if I ever do find a good site, I'll be sure to let you know!



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