People say that stews are for winter and whilst this in part true, I like them throughout the year, even in summer. In the UK the summers are nowhere as hot as other places and not even as hot as Austria can get, hard to believe right? Salads are good and I love soups of all kinds but the reason I choose stew in summer is that you can keep it light but still fill up on goodness and that’s a win, win for me. I have more stew and less bread that way too. You might ask what the difference between a soup and stew is? Good question that I almost got right but thought for clarification, share with you.
In theory, a soup is a combination of vegetables, meat or fish cooked in liquid. A stew is any dish that’s prepared by stewing – that is, the food is barely covered with liquid and simmered for a long time in a covered pot.
So there we have it. When I use my slow cooker, whatever it is in it, can automatically be a stew; whereas carrot soup is made in a pot on the hob. I wasn’t totally sure until I looked it up myself as some soups can have a stew consistency, so for me there is a bit of a gray zone. One never stops learning. Did you know the exact difference or was it just me?
When we moved in, my parents in law gave us a slow cooker and it is my favourite no nonsense tool for all sorts. Find my Mongolian beef stew recipe here. In essence you can throw in whatever you like, English people might tell you different but I am naughty in that sense and pay no attention to it.
Ingredients make 4-5:
- 3 chicken breasts
- 4 large carrots
- 250 gr potatoes
- 1 large leek
- 1 red onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 packet green beans
- 1 packet of smoked bacon
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp Mixed herbs
- ½ tsp chili flakes or as much as you like
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2 chicken stock cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1-2 tbsp chicken gravy granules to thicken it up if needed in the end
Pre-heat your slow cooker for 15-20 minutes on high. As previously mentioned this helps to release the flavours. Cut the chicken, bacon and vegetables into chunks, different sizes make it a bit more interesting. I am using smoked bacon, as I am a sucker for anything with a smoky flavour but I understand, or better, I don’t understand, that people don’t like it. Use whichever is your preference. Everything goes into the pot and then cover it about 1cm above the ingredients. I leave it on high for 1:45 hrs but give it a gently stir after the first hour. You don’t want to break up the chicken too much.
Check the consistency once the time is up, if it is still too watery, add 1 spoon of the granules and leave for a further 15 minutes. You might use all the granules or none, whatever your preference on consistency.
Once you have it right where you want it, take some crusty rolls and serve. Since I been in the UK, I have learned that up t’north there is always bread and butter with, well everything, so I went with it too but it is by no means necessary. You could also slice the crusty bread, rub it with garlic and put it under the grill for a few minutes, gives it all a different twist.