Learn more about Stew

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For the musician see Stew (musician).

A stew is a common dish made of vegetables, meat, poultry, or seafood cooked in some sort of broth or sauce. The line between stew and soup is a fine one, but generally a stew's ingredients are cut in larger pieces and retain some of their individual flavours, a stew may have thicker broth, and a stew is more likely to be eaten as a main course than as a starter. There are exceptions; for example, an oyster stew is more like a soup.

Stewing has a long tradition in cookery. Popular recipes for regional stews, such as gumbo, bouillabaise, Brunswick stew, and burgoo became common during the 19th century and have increased in popularity during the 20th century.

Written records of stews go back as far as written cookbooks. There are recipes for lamb stews & fish stews in Apicius de re Coquinaria, whose identity is uncertain, there having been three Romans by that name in the period 1st century BC to 2nd century AD. What is known is that the book has survived, and there are recipes for stews of lamb and fish in it. (An English translation is available 'Apicius: Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome', A Bibliography, Critical Review and Translation of the Ancient Book known as Apicius de re Coquinaria by Joseph Dommers Vehling, which is available in reprint paperback from Dover Publications.)

Taillevent (French chef, 1310-1395 whose real name was Guillaume Tirel) wrote Le Viandier, one of the oldest cookbooks in French, also has ragouts or stews of various types in it.

To go back even further, there is ample evidence from primitive tribes who survived into the 19th and 20th centuries, that they could and did boil foods together (which is what a stew essentially is). Amazonian tribes used the shells of turtles, boiling the entrails of the turtle and various other ingredients. Other cultures used the shells of large mollusks (clams etc.) to boil foods. There is archaeological evidence of these practices going back 7,000 or 8,000 years or more.

Herodotus tells us of the Scythians (8th to 4th centuries BC), who "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 striped off. In this way an ox, or any other sacrificial beast, is ingeniously made to boil itself." (Some sources feel this was how some of the first 'boiling' was done by primitive man, perhaps as long ago as ½ to 1 million years ago!)

The development of pottery, perhaps 10,000 years ago, made cooking, and stews in particular, even easier.

Examples of stews include Hungarian Goulash, Carbonnades a la Flamande, and Boeuf Bourguignon.

Hungarian Goulash dates back to the 9th century Magyar shepherds of the area, before the existence of Hungary. Paprika was added in the 18th century.

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

In egglepple lexicon, a stew or stewy is a tool that acts as an artwand. It is usually in the form of a hand-held pencil and can have multiple functions.

[edit] Famous stews

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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