No, I will not show you what this looks like yet. 

Striptease stew

I know how it goes. I talk about my favorite recipes, and I hear “Not photogenic!” “Not attractive!”

Funny, in an industry where people so freely use the term “food porn,” I keep hearing that there’s nothing pretty about a piece of meat. 

So for this stew, (you’ll find the official recipe in Joan Nathan’s classic Jewish Holiday Kitchen), we’re trying something more seductive. 


Cut two pounds of chuck meat into 1- or 2-inch chunks. (At most — ahem — meat markets, they will do this for you. Just make sure it’s chuck; the precut stew meat is sometimes a leaner cut.)  Slice three onions. Sprinkle the meat with salt, and brown it along with the onions in a large stew pot. Brown it in margarine if you keep kosher; butter if you don’t. I use butter. (Sorry, dad, but you know you should have stopped reading at the headline.) Add water to cover the meat, and simmer, uncovered, one hour.

Take a few sweet potatoes. Really sweet potatoes.


Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into big chunks. Then do the same with a few Yukon Golds or other white potatoes. Slice 6-8 carrots, or more if they’re your thing.


Grate a few dashes of nutmeg. You can use regular nutmeg powder just as easily, but the fresh stuff is —  spicier.

Zest the rind of one orange, then slice it in half and juice both halves. Don’t squeeze too hard.


By now, that meat should be well simmered. Using a big wooden spoon or spatula, push it to the center of the pot. (The recipe says to place it all in a 4-quart casserole, but we find it works better to do the whole recipe in a much larger Dutch oven.)

Surround the meat with the sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, nutmeg, and orange rind and juice. Add a quarter-cup of brown sugar, a half-pound dried prunes, and a half-pound dried apricots. I like the ones that are still plump and pliable.


Cover with water. Put the lid on the pot and place it in a preheated 350-degree oven.  Bake one hour, then take off the lid and bake uncovered another two hours or until the liquid disappears and the top turns crusty. 

You know how to serve it: Hot!





– A big thank you for this post goes to Patricia Ridenour and Leslie Saber of  Photographic Center Northwest, who led a most inspiring class this quarter in Introduction to Digital Photography.

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