Nothing is more comforting on a cold day than a warm, hearty bowl of stew. Stews are part of almost every cuisine, from classic French beef bourguignon, to Brazilian moqueca, to the endless varieties of Moroccan tagines. Not only are stews delicious, they’re also a great way to make use of what’s around—which in the winter months may not be much. Stews transform tougher, less expensive cuts of meat like lamb shoulder or flatiron steak; simply simmer the protein with seasonal vegetables and a flavorful broth and you’ve got a satisfying, one-pot meal. Food & Wine’s guide to stew includes inspired dishes from around the globe plus favorite recipes from Jacques Pepin, Gail Simmons and more of the F&W family. Winter: we’re ready for you.
Smoky, gently spiced andouille sausage and a spoonful of Creole seasoning give deep flavor and mild heat to this jambalaya, while the trinity of onion, green pepper, and celery provide a classic aromatic base to the dish. Parboiled rice is perfect for this recipe, since it cooks to tenderness just as the andouille, chicken, and shrimp reach doneness.
Cooked until fluffy and dry like couscous, fonio, a West African staple grain, keeps the meatballs tender while imparting a mildly nutty, earthy flavor. These meatballs are on the delicate side—let them chill before cooking, and sear them on all sides to help them hold together during the final simmer in the sauce.
In Senegal at the Keur Moussa monastery, a typical meal includes poulet mafé, a thick peanut sauce with chicken, root vegetables, and cabbage served over rice, fonio, or millet couscous. For chef Pierre Thiam, poulet mafé is the ultimate comfort food. His advice: “Be patient when cooking mafé. Let the stew simmer slowly until the oil rises to the surface.” Creamy peanut butter adds body and nuttiness to this savory chicken dish, balancing the aromatic ginger, garlic, and tomato paste. Thiam's version uses fish sauce, which brings a subtle umami that adds complexity to the stew.
Bringing the ancient cooking medium home to the modern kitchen.
Hunter’s Sausage-and-Sauerkraut Stew
This Polish “hunter’s stew” typically combines at least three different meats, from wild game to pork ribs, sausages, and veal. Chef Andrew Zimmern uses lightly smoked bacon, chicken thighs, and kielbasa in his version. He also adds roasted bell peppers for depth, buttery chanterelles, and crisp-tender fennel. The stew simmers with fermented sauerkraut, another traditional element. “Thankfully,” says Zimmern, “[the sauerkraut] is available in almost any supermarket you walk into.” Slideshow: More Stew Recipes