Stew recipes to pamper your taste buds in winter!

In the dead of winter, boiled dishes all have one thing in common: they simmer for a long time to give the flavors time to develop and the ingredients to become tender and moist, like pot-au-feu or chicken in the pot that are part of the stews whose base is a broth.

A domestic and economic kitchen

This large family has illustrious recipes whose particularity has sometimes been forgotten. Like mironton (or sometimes miroton), this ancient dish, popular in home and frugal cooking, which is prepared with leftover meat from a pot-au-feu or roast, lots of onions, a few carrots, flour and broth to bind everything together.

Navarin is said to have been invented by Antonin Carême in reference to the naval battle of the same name, on the western coast of the Peloponnese, where the Turkish fleet was sunk by a Franco-Russian-English armada, in 1827. The famous cook is said to have played on words and flavors by simmering a lamb stew with turnips!

Dishes to “build up your appetite”

We also mention the blanquette whose name was borrowed from the Provençal white which means white. Traditionally made with veal or poultry, blanquette is a stew cooked in a white broth and tied at the end with egg yolk and cream.

Among the stews, these meat and vegetable stews cooked in a sauce that “ragoûtaient” (in Old French means “to restore appetite”), His Majesty the stew occupies a special place.

The stew, one to three days

This dish whose etymology evokes the Italian term must which means “marinade” was once cooked in a daubière, an earthenware or copper plate with a rim to deposit the ash and thus cook the recipe with the embers above and below the pot. Modern daubières are cast iron saucepans with this famous rim for pouring boiling water and thus obtaining very uniform cooking.

The principle of a stew is therefore to marinate pieces of meat in a generally alcohol-based marinade (red or white wine, beer, Burgundy marc) with an aromatic garnish made up of bouquet garni, onion studded with cloves, vegetables and spices. Depending on the meat (beef, pork, game, rooster, etc.), this stage varies from 24 hours to three days. Then the meats are drained, dried and lightly browned in a saucepan before being floured and the aromatic side dish added to start a long and delicate cooking, over low heat or in the oven.

Countless regional variations

French gastronomic terroir is a fabulous inventory of regional variations. The noble coq au vin of Gevrey-Chambertin, the carbonates of the North which give pride of place to beer; the Provençal daube combines lamb and orange peel, the Marseillaise is prepared with beef marinated in red wine, olives and anchovies. In the Camargue stew called “gardiane”, beef is replaced by bull. Wild boar stew is a tradition in the Var countryside at Christmas. Catalans swear by the famous boles de picolat (meatballs made up of three meats and cooked in a tomato sauce with green olives and porcini mushrooms).

In the Var, wild boar stew is served with fresh pasta or gnocchi. In the Béarnese, the stew includes cured ham; in Saintongeais a calf’s foot to give even more softness and in Agenais dried plums. As for the Alsatian stew, it includes potatoes that cook over low heat to bind the sauce. In Aveyronnais, the peasant stew adopts the charming name of coufidou which speaks volumes about the comforting side of the recipe.

Among my favorite recipes, the Givordine, an ancient Lyonnaise dish, that of the Rhône sailors who let this stew simmer for a long time, during their travels in the South and incorporated into the beef chuck casserole, salted anchovies, parsley and butter when they arrived at their destination, like a southern party!

In my library

Two books for mastering stews: French cuisine for everyone, by Laurent Mariotte, published by Solar (€ 22) e Butcher supporter, by Hugo Desnoyer, published by First (35 euros).


The recipes

► Boles de picolat, Catalan stew

For 6 people

500 sausage meat

500 lean beef

500 veal

30 g of bread

10cl of milk

5 cloves of garlic

1 onion

1 bunch of parsley

40 g of flour

30cl of white wine

400 g of tomato puree

80 g of green olives

50 g of black olives

100 g of dried porcini mushrooms

1 bell pepper

Fine salt and ground pepper

In a large bowl combine the sausage meat, the chopped lean beef about the size of the sausage meat, and the same size ground veal. Add the bread soaked in milk, salt, pepper and the parsley (minced parsley and garlic). Mix this preparation well and form about fifteen nice meatballs the size of a small egg. Care must be taken not to compact the meat in the meatballs too much, because after cooking they will be too compact and a little suffocating.

Pass the gnocchi in the flour. Brown them in a saucepan with a little peanut oil, remove them and add an onion and some flour to make a roux. Deglaze with the white wine, add the tomato puree. Return the bowls of picolat to a simmer and cover with a little water. Incorporate the dried porcini mushrooms previously rehydrated in hot water, the green and black olives and the chilli pepper. Cook over low heat for an hour and serve the picolat bowls with steamed potatoes or mashed potatoes.

► Veal stew

Stew recipes to pamper your taste buds in winter!

For 4 people

12 small onions

2 carrots

300 g of veal shoulder

300 g of veal tendons

200 g of veal cutlet

1 drizzle of peanut oil

1 c. flour

20cl of white wine

1 bunch of flowers

2 pinches of nutmeg

200 g of champignon mushrooms

50 g of butter

1 egg yolk

1 lemon juice

2 tbsp. spoonful of cream

Fine salt and ground white pepper

Peel the onions, cut the peeled carrots into small cubes. Cut the pieces of meat into large cubes. In a casserole, with the peanut oil and 30 g of butter, brown the pieces of meat without coloring them too much. Add the spring onions, carrots and sprinkle with flour.

Mix well and deglaze with the white wine. Add water to the height, season with salt, white pepper, nutmeg and add the bunch of bunches. Leave to simmer for an hour on low heat then add the champignon mushrooms previously sautéed in butter.

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