Flavor Atlas: Stews Around the World
Welcome to Flavor Atlas, a new monthly column from the FLIK Hospitality team where we'll explore worldly flavors and global cuisines through common ingredients or food preparation. To kick things off, we're going to start with how different cultures enjoy this hearty winter comfort food: stew.
First off, let's talk about what makes a stew...a stew.
At its core, stews are a combination of larger cut vegetables, proteins like meat or fish, simmered over low heat for a long period of time in some sort of liquid. A thicker, heartier cousin to soup, stews are notably prepared with less liquid. During the cooking process, this liquid reduces into a gravy-like consistency, making stews popular for serving over a grain, pasta, or other starch.
Let's take a trip to France.
Arguably the most classic French stew is Coq au Vin, or "chicken in wine."
This stew is centered around chicken that has been braised, or slowly cooked, in wine bacon, and mushrooms. If you're making this dish at home, you can't go wrong with Julia Child's recipe. She opts for Burgundy as her braising liquid, but the "vin" you use can change depending on which regional flare you'd like to incorporate into your menu.
Next, we're off to the Philippines.
In the Phillippines, kare-kare is a beloved stew with a history dating back hundreds of years.
This uniquely Filipino dish is traditionally prepared with simmered oxtail, vegetables, and a peanut-based sauce. It can also be made with pork hocks, tripe, and even shellfish, but this is much less common. It is simmered for hours alongside with vegetables like eggplant, long beans, Chinese cabbage, and banana heart.
Our final stop is in India.
Madras curry is a popular Indian curry made with chicken, onions, garlic, coconut milk, and madras curry powder.
Contrary to popular belief, all Indian curries are not stews; curry simply refers to a traditional combination of herbs and spices including turmeric, cumin, coriander, and ginger. Madras curry powder includes chili powder, dried fenugreek, and salt. Served over a bowl of rice and with a dollop of yogurt, this curry is a little spicier than yellow curries but totally worth it.
What's stewing in your kitchen?
Around the globe, the time tradition of low, slow-cooking meats and vegetables in liquid can be found from continent to continent. While the spices and flavor combinations are unique to their respective country of origin, the method of preparation is the same.
Try your hand at making your own homemade hearty stew this winter! Pick a country and try to replicate the international flavors from somewhere new, or follow along with Tracy as she makes Tex Mex Beef Stew.
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