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coombe Mar 8, 2008 11:12 AM

I have always loved stews and casseroles and enjoy making them. But most of my friends have never made one and I have to say that I can't think of many (or any) restaurants that would have anything like this on the menu. Has stew gone completely out of fashion?

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  1. LindaWhit RE: coombe Mar 8, 2008 11:25 AM

    I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a good Irish pub that *doesn't* have an Irish lamb stew or Guinness beef stew on their menu, and boeuf bourguignon and cassoulets are still popular in French-influenced restaurants. A chicken fricassee is type of stew, as is a Portuguese feijoada, a Bouillabaisse (fish), a ratatouille (vegetable), and a gumbo (assorted seafoods). All stews.

    So I think they're on menus - just not always with the word "stew" in their name. :-)


    1 Reply
    1. re: LindaWhit
      coombe RE: LindaWhit Mar 8, 2008 09:46 PM

      I guess I just haven't been to the right places!

    2. t
      TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis RE: coombe Mar 8, 2008 04:53 PM

      Out of fashion, like "blue plate special"?
      The great thing about stews is that you can draw a savory sense of comfort with little expense and a modicum of attention ... allowing patience ... winter, friends, home.
      Cook's recently ran a soup and stew edition you may find enjoyable.

      1. Passadumkeg RE: coombe Mar 8, 2008 05:24 PM

        No sir Cappy! Stew is as regular as a meat loaf sandwich and a side of baked beans in Maine.
        Pass the ketchup, please.

        1. nliedel RE: coombe Mar 9, 2008 07:31 AM

          In the day and age of, "How fast can I get it done" a stew is sort of an anolmaly. You're talking about a dish that needs to be cooked low and slow to bring out the great flavor of the meat and vegetables. It requires work and a lot of restaurants are not braising like they used to. Many places are using half prepared foods with grills marks already on them, just heat and serve. It's not universal, but quite common.

          Many of the high end places could do a heck of a stew, but a lot of people would turn up their noses at something so, "common." Which is a shame. If I want good stew, I make it. I almost have to. There is some wonderful stuff coming out of the slow food movement, but it's really fighting agaisnt the need to get it done and get it done NOW that has overtaken people. Which, in my opinion, is a shame.

          4 Replies
          1. re: nliedel
            paulj RE: nliedel Mar 9, 2008 09:41 AM

            But you aren't going to get a stew that was made just to order either - not unless you are willing to wait a couple of hours. So either they make a large batch and keep it warm, or chill or freeze it. Most stews, and braised meats, do benefit from sitting overnight.


            1. re: paulj
              nliedel RE: paulj Mar 10, 2008 04:46 AM

              Stew could never be made to order. It would have to be kept warm and served over the course of an evening, probably as a special.

            2. re: nliedel
              TomDel RE: nliedel Mar 11, 2008 12:38 PM

              You can significantly reduce the time needed to make a good stew by using a pressure cooker. I use mine mainly for beef stew and chili. They both cook for about 12 minutes at pressure and it takes about 20 minutes to come up to pressure after you put the lid on. Browning the meat takes another 20 minutes or so if done in batches. The bottom line is you can make a delicious pot of stew or chili in under an hour with a PC.

              1. re: TomDel
                nliedel RE: TomDel Mar 12, 2008 07:24 AM

                I'm scared of those. My mother blew ours up, when I was a kid, and I've been afraid to get one since. Which is silly, cause they are much safer now.

            3. d
              Diane in Bexley RE: coombe Mar 10, 2008 09:59 AM

              Coombe, just curious, what part of the country do you live in? Here in Central Ohio, stew/soup/pot roast/braises are very popular in the winter months (Oct. - Mar or April), because they are so warm and comforting when its cold outside (and we have 20 in of snow!). Even haute cuisine restos will have fancy braise like coffee flavored short ribs or a riff on bouef bourgignon. Perhaps you live in a warmer climate where the need doesn't exist?

              4 Replies
              1. re: Diane in Bexley
                coombe RE: Diane in Bexley Mar 10, 2008 10:22 AM

                I live in Britain where it seems that, apart from Sunday roast, everything else has to be quick and semi raw.

                1. re: coombe
                  LindaWhit RE: coombe Mar 10, 2008 10:55 AM

                  Interesting that you can't find a stew-like meal on a pub menu. Or were you looking for same at a higher-end restaurant?

                  1. re: LindaWhit
                    seal RE: LindaWhit Mar 11, 2008 02:57 AM

                    lol - I just made a big pot for the family.

                    But I rarely, if ever, see a "Beef Stew" on the menu at a restaurant.

                    I pur my many stews in the category of things I make at home but
                    wouldn't eat out.

                  2. re: coombe
                    Diane in Bexley RE: coombe Mar 11, 2008 06:59 AM

                    I have watched Gordon Ramsay counsel many resto owners in Britain to "return to their roots" figuratively and literally by offering stew, steak & kidney pie, etc. When we have visited London, we ate at a few English style restos, but you are right, we had roast beef (my DH's fave). If you are looking for recipes, let me know. We made a killer sweet & sour pot roast with potatoes & carrots last weekend.

                2. sebetti RE: coombe Mar 11, 2008 08:48 AM

                  Stew came back into fashion for me when I realized that I really needed to big batch cooking on the weekends in order to have time during the week. (hello new mom!).

                  I had literally forgotten how wonderful they can be and how forgiving they can be. I make stew once a month now and it's always wonderful and it never tastes the same. The possibilities are endless.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sebetti
                    nliedel RE: sebetti Mar 12, 2008 07:25 AM

                    It's easy to put ont together on a day off and let it simmer all day. Freeze the leftovers and you're set for many meals to come.

                  2. Passadumkeg RE: coombe Mar 11, 2008 09:49 AM

                    We have a fine little restaurant that always has a lamb (locally grown) stew w/ flagolet on their menu. www.cleonice.com

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