Eau Claire eats

Three stew recipes to feed your friends

Timothy Spierings

More stories from Timothy Spierings


When Riverview Cafe doesn’t sound appealing, Midwest Meals prides itself on being a healthy alternative.

The dropping temperatures means it’s time to stay indoors and get cozy. Some people choose to do this with a cup of hot chocolate or apple cider. It also means the return of soup season, or better yet, stew season.

The great thing about making stew is that it’s a great way to bond with friends as you make it. Slap the ingredients into a pot and you’ve got a bit of time to hang out with friends while your meal cooks.

If your love language is gift giving or acts of service, having a stew night with friends is a perfect way to pass the winter by. These three recipes offer a variety of stews for different diets and different flavor pallets to try with friends and family.

Red wine beef stew

The first recipe I made might require a few friends to help pitch in for the price, but it’s well worth the effort. The ingredients can get pricey on your own, but without them this stew would not be the same. You will also need to be able to buy alcohol for this recipe, so this one is for those above the age of 21.


  • One-half cup of flour
  • One teaspoon of salt
  • One teaspoon of pepper
  • One teaspoon of paprika
  • One-half teaspoon of garlic powder
  • One-half teaspoon of onion powder
  • 2 ½  lbs. of beef chuck cut in cubes
  • One tablespoon of olive oil
  • 30 ounces of beef broth
  • Two bay leaves
  • One teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • One cup of red wine, I recommend a cheap cabernet sauvignon
  • Four or five gold potatoes, cut into cubes
  • Four carrots cut into discs
  • Two medium sweet or yellow onions
  • Salt and pepper to taste

First, combine the flour, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and meat in a plastic bag. Shake to coat the meat with the mixture.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the meat cubes and brown it on all sides. Save the leftover powder mix from the bag for later. 

Once the meat is browned, add the broth, bay leaves, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and red wine to the pot. Bring the stew to a boil. 

When the stew reaches a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Then, cover the pot with a lid and leave it to cook for an hour and a half. 

In a small bowl, combine two tablespoons of the extra powder mixture with enough water to make a thin slurry. Start with a little bit of water and add a little bit at a time to avoid making the slurry too water-like. Whisk with a fork until it is fully combined.

After the stew has simmered for an hour and a half, pour the slurry into the pot and stir to combine. 

Cook for another 15 minutes, then add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaves and serve.

Vegan mushroom stew

If you’re like me, you’ve got a few vegetarian or vegan friends that always have to bring their own food to different hangouts. This recipe is a great solution to the problem. Not only does it not use any meat or animal products, it’s also gluten free. Show your friends you care with this special stew.


  • One tablespoon of olive oil
  • One yellow onion, diced
  • About six cups of mushrooms, sliced up into pieces. I used bella mushrooms
  • One teaspoon of salt
  • Half a teaspoon of thyme
  • A quarter of a teaspoon of black pepper
  • Three tablespoons of tomato paste
  • Two-and-a-quarter cups of vegetable broth
  • Four carrots cut into one-inch chunks
  • Three yellow potatoes cut into one-inch chunks
  • Four teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, if you’re vegan you should buy a vegan Worcestershire sauce instead
  • One bay leaf
  • Two teaspoons of dried parsley
  • One-and-a-half cups of frozen peas, this is optional. I don’t like peas in my stew but some people love them
  • Two tablespoons of water for the slurry
  • Two tablespoons of cornstarch, also for the slurry

Add the olive oil to your pot on medium high heat. Once it’s warmed, add the onion and saute it for about four minutes until it’s soft. Then, add the mushrooms and cook for another three minutes.

Add the salt, pepper and thyme to the pot and stir so the onion and mushrooms are covered. Then add the tomato paste and stir again to combine everything. 

Then, add the broth and stir again to combine all of the ingredients in the pot. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to prevent anything from sticking.

Next, add the carrots, potatoes and Worcestershire sauce. Stir and add the bay leaf to the mix. Bring the pot to a boil. Once it boils, turn the heat down to low and add a lid to the pot. Simmer until the carrots and potatoes are tender enough to be pierced by a fork easily. Typically this process takes around 20 minutes.

As the stew simmers, you can make the slurry that thickens the stew. Use a fork to whisk the water and the cornstarch together. 

Once the carrots and potatoes are tender, fish out the bay leaf if you can find it. Stir the slurry into the stew. If you like peas, add them and the parsley to the stew at this point and remove it from the stove. Let it sit for five minutes then serve. 

Brazilian salmon stew

This recipe is more like a curry, since it’s served over rice. You can make your rice on the stove or in a rice cooker, or just make some instant rice in the microwave. It also has a pretty short wait time, so if you and your friends are hungry this is a great choice for a warm but fast meal.


  • 1 1/2 lb. of salmon cut into medium chunks, I recommend buying it frozen since it’s cheaper and then thaw it out
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • Two cloves of garlic sliced into discs
  • One small white onion, sliced
  • Eight ounces of tomato sauce
  • Three-quarters of cup of coconut milk
  • Half of a whole green pepper, cut into round slices
  • Half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A handful of fresh parsley or cilantro if you have some to garnish

For this recipe, using a pan or skillet with deep sides is recommended. Heat the olive oil in the skillet on medium to low heat, then add the garlic and onion. Saute for two to three minutes until the garlic and onion are fragrant. 

Next, add the tomato sauce and coconut milk and quickly stir until everything is evenly combined. Let it simmer for another two to three minutes.

Once it is done, arrange the salmon pieces evenly in the skillet. Arrange the bell pepper slices around the salmon. At this point, you can add the pepper flakes and the salt and pepper as needed. 

I like to cover the skillet at this point, but it’s not necessary if you have a good, even-heated stove. Leave the stew to cook for 10 minutes on low heat, then flip the salmon over.

If you have parsley or cilantro, add it into the stew here. Then leave the stew to cook for another four to five minutes. 

After that, the stew is done. I usually start cooking the rice before I start the stew, but if you are doing instant rice you can easily start preparing it after flipping the salmon. Serve the stew over the rice and you’re all set.

Spierings can be reached at [email protected].