Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – #Winter Warmers- #Stews and Casseroles

Winter Warmers. Stews and Casseroles.

While I am basking in the sun as our high season is nearly here I know many of you are in the throes of some severe weather conditions minus a lot according to friends…

If I could bottle some of the warmth I would but even I can’t do that so the next best thing is one pot stews and casseroles something you can do in the slow cooker and come home to that lovely aroma or leave simmering on the stove or in the oven…

Comfort food at its best and warmest and not with chilli well maybe one or two…ha-ha

A lovely one-pot Beef Bourguignon which is also really easy to double up if you are having guests just make sure you lengthen the cooking time.

One of the first dishes that I cooked my husband some 40 odd years ago was Beef Bourguignon…He was a man who ate only meat and two vegetables and did not like garlic???

Well…he ate it! I didn’t tell him what was in it apart from Beef and Red Wine…

When he asked after saying” That was really good” and I said Beef, garlic, red wine etc….

” But I don’t like garlic”

He now eats this dish at every opportunity and often asks me to make it!


• 1 kg Beef…I use good braising steak. Cut into cubes.
• 3/4 rashers smoked bacon cut in 1/4 pieces.
• 250gm button mushrooms…small as I use whole.
• 10-15 small onions/shallots used whole.
• 3/4 pint good beef stock.
• Half bottle red wine……..I use a Shiraz.
• 2/3 bay leaves.
• 4 large cloves garlic chopped not too fine.
• 2 tbsp flour for the roux. plus extra flour to coat beef.
• 2 tbsp Good Olive Oil.

Let’s Cook!

  • Toss the cubed beef in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.
  • Heat some oil in large pan over med heat seal cubed beef in batches.
  • Once all beef is sealed then set to one side.
  • In the same pan add a little drop of oil and cook bacon and garlic until bacon cooked nicely just slightly crispy.
  • Add Beef and stir in 2 tbsp flour.
  • Then add beef stock and stir until smooth gravy. It’s like making a roux.
  • Add Bay leaves and Red wine bring to slow boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 1/2 hrs until meat is tender. Depending on your cut of meat it may take a little longer.
  • About 30 minutes before the end of cooking add button onions and 15 mins before add button mushrooms.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning it may need more pepper. Again it is personal taste.

This can be served with mashed potatoes and vegetables or rice and vegetables even noodles go well with dish.

I hope you enjoy!

If you are working then just put the beef in the slow cooker and add the button mushrooms and onions when you come home…

Lamb Stew

One of our favourites as a child was my mum’s lamb stew she used neck of lamb or something she called scrag of lamb with onions, carrots, turnips, barley, butter beans then cooked low and slow she never added any gravy browning it was what we called white gravy just seasoned with salt and pepper…Then dumplings added near the end of cooking and served with greens…Plain simple cooking but delicious.

That is the wonder of a stew anything can go in…

Rabbit stew was also a favourite and cooked more or less the same as her lamb stew but had brown gravy…The rabbits were ones (shhhh0 which were poached as my mum wouldn’t buy a ready skinned rabbit as she said it might have been a cat…I wonder where I get my suspicious nature from….ha-ha and then there was the Myxomatosis scare so that was the end of our rabbit stew for years.

This recipe was given to me by a good friend when I lived in Phuket and it is a lovely Chicken and Potato stew which originated many moons ago in Columbia and it is now a well-known national dish called Ajaico… A Colombian Chicken Soup.

When the gales are blowing and it is a snowy, blustery winters night when the wind chill goes right down to your toes and even your wee freezes then this is just what you need.

She told me that her grandmother used to keep a pot simmering on her stove ready for when any cold mortal came to her door…It sounds to me a little like she was a welcome port in the snow storm.

I can just picture her granny standing in her kitchen serving up these luscious bowls of hot stew.

Traditionally served with thinly slice avocados, sour cream, chopped coriander and capers…..I am now salivating as I type…


• 1 1/2 lbs of chicken pieces, skin on and on the bone.
• 1 1/2 lbs of potatoes……mixed varieties maybe 3 different ones.
• 2-3 Corn cut crosswise into quarters or 1 1/2 cups of frozen corn.
• 1 large brown Onion chopped roughly.
• 5 cloves of garlic roughly cut.
• 4 cups of good chicken stock…I cook up chicken carcases.
• 1 tsp of coarse salt…I use Himalayan.
• 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper.
• 2 tbsp Olive Oil.
• I bunch of coriander…tied.
• 1 bunch of spring Onions (green onions) …tied.
• 2tbsp dried guascas.
NB: Also known as Quick weed or Galinsoga in the US and Gallant Soldiers in the UK……It is a very prolific edible weed.

Or…You can use dried Oregano as a substitute.

Let’s Cook!

  • Marinade your chicken pieces with the onion, garlic, salt and pepper in the fridge for 8-24 hrs.
  • When ready to cook heat olive Oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Add the chicken and all the marinade bits. Brown the chicken on both sides about 6 minutes.
  • Pour the stock into the pan and raise the heat to bring to the boil, turn down and cook at a rolling simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from the pan and when it is cool enough to handle remove skin and bones.
  • Cut or tear the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  • Put the potatoes in the cooking liquid and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Then add the corn, tied spring onions, coriander and quascas (oregano). Cover pan and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked.
  • Remove coriander and onions and return chicken to the pot and warm through.

Serve soup in individual bowls with the prepared avocado, sour cream, coriander and capers as accompaniments.


Stews and casseroles can contain anything you like …Rosemary, thyme, bay leaves are some of the herbs that go well in a stew or casserole. Beans and lentils help to bulk it out and have lots of fibre, lovely root vegetables. You can also add beer, wine, cider which all marry well. What is your favourite combo…?

Chicken Chasseur is a lovely dish which is simply chicken cooked in white wine.


• 8 skinned and boned chicken thighs/legs or as I do I remove the bone near the end of the cooking time.
• 4 large thyme sprigs picked
• 100 gm shallots about 3
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 3 cloves garlic chopped
• 1 tbsp tomato puree
• 200 ml dry white wine
• 200 ml fresh chicken stock
• 300 gm small chestnut mushrooms halved
• 2 fresh bay leaves
• 1 carrot sliced
• 200 gm fresh chopped tomatoes
• 2 tbsp flat leafed parsley chopped

Let’s Cook

  • Heat a deep, non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil and fry the chicken pieces until golden all over. Set aside.
  • Add the rest of the oil, shallot, carrot and garlic to the pan. Fry for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned.
  • Stir in the purée, cook for 1 minute, add the wine and stock, and bring to the boil.
  • Return the chicken to the pan with the mushrooms, remaining thyme, bay leaves and some seasoning.
  • Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover, stir in the tomatoes and simmer for 30-35 minutes.
  • Turn the chicken now and then, cooking until the chicken is tender and the sauce has reduced.

Sprinkle with the parsley and serve with mashed potatoes, rice or noodles.

If I am doing a posh chicken chasseur I do bone the thighs but we prefer chicken cooked on the bone as it has more taste…It is personal preference.

Lastly if you want a meat free stew…This lentil stew recipe was given to me by Darlene Foster and I made it for the first time last week… It is pure comfort food at its best and eaten with some lovely homemade flat bread it was lovely.

Yakhmat ‘Adas (from Syria and Lebanon)


• 1 cup lentils, rinsed
• 5 cups water
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 medium onions, chopped
• 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
• 1/4 cup rice, rinsed
• 1/4 cup fine noodles
• 2 cups stewed tomatoes
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• salt and pepper to taste
• 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried crushed basil

Let’s Cook

Place lentils and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté onions over medium heat until they begin to brown. Stir in garlic and rice and stir-fry for another 3 minutes.

Add frying pan contents along with remaining ingredients, except basil, to lentils and bring to a boil. Cook another 20 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Remove from heat and stir in basil.


Note from Darlene: I usually cut the recipe in half as it makes a lot. *Did you know that lentils are good for anaemia, low blood pressure and for ulcers? From my favourite cookbook, Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East and North Africa by Habeeb Salloum.

Thank you, Darlene it was delicious I used really fine vermicelli noodles, fresh ginger as I grow my own and don’t use dried and Thai basil…It definitely makes a lot though I am pleased I halved the recipe on your advice xxx

My go-to flatbread recipe…


• 1/2 cup water.
• 1/4 cup of milk
• 2 cups flour.
• 1 tbsp Baking Powder.
• 2 tbsp oil
• 1/2 tsp salt.

Let’s Cook!

  • Sift dry ingredients together.
  • Add liquids and mix thoroughly…I used my food processor and it took literally 2 mins…. if that and formed a ball. If it is too sticky add little more flour.
  • Divide into 8 pieces. Flatten with the heel of the hand and roll out very thin.
  • My first attempt at this and I didn’t roll mine out thin enough to start with.
  • Heat pan and cook 2/3 minutes each side turn over with tongs or fish slice and done…

That’s all for this week if you are out in the ice and snow…Stay safe and upright and wrap up warm xx

My thanks to  Carol for the recipe for these delicious and warming stews.. something for all family.

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

Connect to Carol


 You can find all of the previous posts in the directoryCarol Taylor Food Column

We would love to hear from you… perhaps you can share your favourite winter warmer? Thanks Sally

24 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – #Winter Warmers- #Stews and Casseroles

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