'Stew' is not the sexiest of words; you could be forgiven for thinking it a little bit boring. But forget those prejudices! A stew is the wholesome, restorative meal we all need to make it through to spring.
As soup's chunkier cousin, stews come in many forms and are found in as many cuisines. Though they're very similar, the difference between a soup and a stew lies in the cooking method. While soup is a combination of vegetables, meat or fish cooked in liquid, a stew is anything that is prepared by stewing – where the ingredients are covered by a thin layer of liquid and simmered for a long time in a covered pot. Stews are ideal for meat, especially tougher kinds like beef, which are broken down by the long, slow cook.
That doesn't mean stews are only for meat-eaters. They are the natural home of legumes, pulses, and dumplings made from either animal or vegetable suet. They also make for excellent meal prep, given they are best cooked in large quantities.