"When you think of French stews, you think of seriously heavy winter food, but I like to add things that taste fresh and light," says Melissa Clark, a New York Times columnist and author of the forthcoming book Cook This Now.
The stew recipes she created for F&W are also speedy: "Fast and light go hand in hand," she explains. Without slow cooking to coax out flavors, Clark turns to zesty ingredients she can add to the dish right before serving. When she makes a lamb stew, for instance, she adds rosé wine and briny olives, stirring in fresh basil at the end. And for her shrimp stew, she makes a speedy, garlicky rouille, a traditional French sauce using store-bought mayonnaise: "I prefer Hellman's, because it never breaks. Plus it has a slight sweetness that I like with seafood."
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Melissa Clark's Stew Recipes: Wine Pairing Tips
1. 2009 Eric Texier Côtes-du-Rhône ($17)
"With meat stews, I pour a berry-scented Côtes-du-Rhône with Syrah in the blend."
2. 2008 Catherine & Pierre Breton Beaumont Chinon ($26)
"For chicken, lentils or creamy stews, I like fruity reds with good acidity."
3. 2009 François Chidaine Clos du Breuil Montlouis ($25)
"Dry, lemony Chenin Blanc is my pick for lighter seafood or vegetable stews."