4th November, 2006

Colly’s Winter Stew

Brrrr! It ain’t half getting cold out, and Autumn feels more like Winter if you ask me. At this time of year it is important to keep well fed and ward off any nasty colds and flus. For my money, nothing beats a good, hearty English stew - and plenty of it!

In this episode of Cooking With Colly I’ll show you how to make my magic stew. It is guaranteed to fend off germs and attract women. What’s more, if you have a big enough pan you can make enough to last a whole week! So, come into my kitchen and let me wow you with special ingredients and macro photography. Get yer aprons on…

You need a very big pan

I used to make a big stew using two pans, but this is awkward, as each stew will be slightly different and it is most likely that your partner will get some of the inferior one and start an argument about it not being as good as the last one.

A very big pan

Figure 1: A very fucking big pan indeed.

Thinking ahead, I bought a really big pan a while back. It is fucking huge. I’m not sure of the capacity, but you know the type of pan you’d noramlly do your pasta in? Well it pisses all over one of those. Key ingredient #1 - a very big pan.

Beef from the butcher

Go to Tesco, Walmart or Meats-R-Us if you like, but expect to be eating cow’s arsehole and hooves. Me, I go to the butcher - a man in a nice stripey apron who knows I need meat for a stew, and will select the appropriate bit of cow and will also dice it up for me. It is very important to limit the possibilities of cutting one’s fingers off by any means necessary. Let the butcher risk it.

Beef from the butcher

Figure 2: Some very red meat on a very grey plate.

Today I’m using beef, as nobody is going mad any more, but I often use lamb (more expensive) or even chicken. You could use venison if you’re posh. Be sure to place your meat on a dark grey plate, like I have, as it looks atrractive.

Fresh vegetables, red wine and stock cubes

Again, avoid the supermarket and go to the proper market. For me, Sneinton market has the ugliest vegetables, but they taste so much better and are super-cheap.

Fresh ingredients

Figure 3: For the price of seventeen tinned soups, you can buy all of this.

Above are two parsnips, one massive swede, mushrooms, an onion, a leek and a few carrots. I’ve also got a couple of beef stock cubes, some cheap Merlot from the Co-op, a few sprigs of rosemary from the garden - and a satsuma.

Get choppin’

I don’t truck with all this fine or fancy chopping like the chefs do on the telly. Just mutilate it all. A few big chunks won’t hurt.

Chop up all the vegetables

Figure 4: Chop-chop-choppin’ on heaven’s door.. never mind.

Obviously make sure your chopping board is free from E-coli, Salmonella and other such nasties. Keep it clean and you will live longer.


OK, serious stuff now. Fire up the hob, and heat a small amount of oil in your ginormo-pan. When it is hot, whack the beef in, and stir like crazy. If you stop to do anything it’ll start sticking to the pan, so keep turning it until the beef is browned, and doesn’t look like roadkill any more.

Getting started

Figure 5: Be careful not to burn your house down at all times.

After a couple of minutes, fling all the veg into the pan and keep stirring. If you don’t stir it’ll burn. Don’t be tempted to put more oil in - just keep stirring until the whole caboodle is beginning to cook in its own juices. This is the healthy way, and it is also standards-compliant. Keep stirring occasionally and reduce the heat to a simmer.

Rosemary from the garden

Luckily, rosemary grows in my garden like wild fire, so I have this lovely herb on tap. You should get some fresh rosemary from the shops if it doesn’t grow on your estate, but I’ll let you use packeted stuff if you must.

Working with the rosemary

Figure 6: Rose-ma-reee, heaven restores you in light. Interpol.

Wash it, strip all the “leaves” off and throw the stalks away. Chop it like Billy-O until it looks nicely mutilated. Transfer to pestle and mortar and bash it a bit to release the flavour. Make the beef stock using two stock cubes and one pint of red-hot water. Throw the rosemary into the stock and stir.

Turning it into a stew

Now, introduce the rosemary and beef stock to the ginormo-pan, stirring all the time. Once it is all in, stir for a bit longer, then pour in a third of a bottle of red wine, and stir again. Twist in the desired amount of ground black pepper and a little salt. Stir again. Feel free to pour on more boiling water if the stock does not satisfactorily cover your ingredients. I usually have about half an inch of stock above my veg at this stage.

Pouring things into the pan

Figure 7: A montage of various cooking procedures.

Magic ingredient time. Grab a satsuma or proper orange, and grate the peel into the pan - as much as you can muster before your fingers bleed. Once you have exhausted the peel, squeeze the juice from five or six segments into the pan, and stir for a bit.

Go do something else for a bit

Job done. Put the lid on the ginormo-pan, ensure the heat is on “simmer”, and go off and have a cup of tea, smoke a cigarette, or try to find the glove you need to complete the pair.

Cover before simmering

Figure 8: Put the big fucking lid on your big fucking pan.

After a goodly while, check your stew. If you would like it to reduce down a bit more and do away with some of the stock, take the lid off to let some moisture escape. If you are not planning to eat it once ready, turn off the heat and put the lid back on.

Eat it!

Job is, as they say, a good ‘un. Get some nice bowls and serve it up. I like mine with some crusty bread - bloomer or French stick, with a knob of butter.

The finished dish. Mmmm

Figure 9: This actually went cold whilst I was taking artistic photos.

It is perfectly fine to stick some of your stew in a tupperware container and freeze it until you feel the need, but remember to heat very slowly from frozen.

Next time…

Join me as I’ll be showing my Grandma how to suck eggs… but even she didn’t know about the orange peel, so there.

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