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Arts & Culture

'The Food Guys' Talk Stews, Beer And Wine

Beef-stew-with-potato-dumplings-and-carrots_Clemens-v-Vogelsang_CC-BY-20.jpg
Flickr user, Clemens v. Vogelsang. (CC-BY-2.0)
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Beef stew with small potato dumplings and carrots

Recently, The Food Guys have discussed braising, stocks, and soups. This time, Jon Jackson and Greg Patent cover the waterfront of stews, the chunkier, more substantial versions of soups. Like soup, a stew recipe can be an open-ended exercise in creativity and imagination. Stewing is similar to braising: it involves slow, covered cooking designed to bring the internal temperature of meat to 200 degrees F and extract its collagen.

"Three words, Greg: Carbonade à la flamande. Well, okay, four words." Jon Jackson recalls the Flemish beef stew cooked in beer, which reminds Greg Patent of beef burgundy, cooked in wine (or beer) from Burgundy.  Coq au vin and fricassee are chicken stews with French origins.

Lamb necks and shanks make a great slow-cooked stew. Couscous accompanies it well; Moroccans use a couscoussière, a large pot with a perforated top compartment for couscous and a lower one for stew which, as it cooks, flavors the couscous above. A Moroccan lamb stew might include the North African hot chili pepper paste called harissa, along with butternut squash, turnips, carrots, and onions.

Cioppino, the fish stew of San Francisco, consists of a tomato base with local fish in season. Crab, halibut and salmon are typical constituents, with a few mussels and clams perched on top. "Add some sourdough bread and wine and it's a feast," recalls Jon.

(Broadcast: "The Food Guys," 1/17/16 and 1/21/16. Listen weekly on the radio at 11:50 a.m. Sundays and again at 4:54 p.m. Thursdays, or via podcast.)