Hearty Stews, Heavy on the Vegetables

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There is an extreme version of just about every stew you can name — beef stew, Irish stew, curry, cassoulet, bouillabaisse — in which vegetables are used, if at all, as “aromatics.” You may start by sweating a little bit of onion, carrot, celery, maybe garlic, with a bay leaf and a thyme sprig, and then you proceed to brown your main ingredient, usually chunks of meat, and add some liquid.

It’s difficult to believe that this tradition goes back much before the ’50s, because so few people had access to the two pounds or more of meat that it takes to make a stew containing little else. From Henry IV to Herbert Hoover, the promise was made that every Sunday, there would be a chicken “in every pot.” No one ever said “a half-pound of meat per person per day,” which is about what we eat.

Read the rest of this column and get the recipes here.

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  1. Adria said...

    I made your Ribollita today, recipe in this past week’s food section. Had to tell you… it was fantastic! Recipe v similar to the one in my Tuscan cookbook, but yours is better. Finishing it with bread/cheese/onions on top, in oven, is more delicious than Tuscan version where soup is poured over toasted garlic rubbed bread and then all reheated in pot. Anyway – thank you for this. Delicious!

  2. Nathan said...

    Mark. Love your site man and thanks for this post. I know I have to change up my own diet more in 2014. I am a 2.19 marathoner and my wife is constantly telling me to eat more spout, vegetables and less soda and fatty foods. She eats nothing but organize food. We have so much processed food in our grocery stores already. I have book marked your site and will be coming back for nutrition advice. If you ever need a post regarding running advice for your readers I would be honored to write for you and I would gladly have you write your expertise for my own readers if you so wish. Thanks again for the informative article on stews and vegetables. I am listening:)

  3. Bonnye said...

    I made your Ribolitta Soup yesterday. It was so good, I ate a bowl for breakfast. I loved the simplicity of it. I also loved the fact that it is very hearty and healthy! It is now in my soup/stew rotation.

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