Stews could be the world’s oldest comfort food and the perfect paleo meal, enjoyed for thousands of years. An animal skin bag could be filled with water and hung over a camp fire. A large turtle or mollusk shell could become a cooking pot, as some Amazonian tribes still do today. When people discovered how to make pottery about 10,000 years ago, cooking stews became easier.
Add chunks of meat or fish and whatever wild veggies or herbs were available, such as wild onions or sage, and after a while they had a stew. It would have been a warm, filling meal after a hard day and a great way to use whatever was on hand. Not much has changed.
The First Recorded Mention of Stew Was in the Bible
The book of Genesis in the Old Testament mentions a lentil stew. There are stew recipes in a 2,000 year old Roman cookbook. One of the oldest French cookbooks dating to the 1300s has various stew or “ragout” recipes. Stews cooked in colder climates tend to be thicker and cooked for a long time. Warm-climate stews are frequently very spicy.
Stews Go to War
Stews have always fed armies. Whatever was handy could be dumped in a big communal pot so a quick meal was always ready. During the American Civil War of the 1860s, soldiers on both sides ate a lot of stew. One Union soldier wrote that a frequent meal consisted of a bowl of stew containing a piece of meat and a potato, a piece of bread and a cup of coffee. The bread was saved for last to sop up the leftover juices.
Stews are served in diners and gourmet restaurants. Home cooks often treat stew recipes as suggestions – if you don’t have or like “x” use “y” instead. A soup is really only a stew with everything cut up smaller and more liquid used.
Crockpots or pressure cookers make it very easy to have stews frequently on a paleo diet plan. Experiment – every culture has stew recipes. Paleohack’s “Easy Crockpot Beef Stew Recipe” is delicious, but the different stews you can make for a paleo meal are only limited by your imagination.
Visit PaleoHack’s website to find out more about losing weight and becoming healthier with the paleo diet. Get the “Paleo for Beginners Guide” with 15 free recipes. You’ll be glad you did.