Some advice on nice, thick stews

Penny’s Pantry Penny Case

I went to a senior citizens’ luncheon recently at Bethany Lutheran church. The church ladies served a delicious, creamy bratwurst stew.

I asked for the recipe, which I am putting in this column. I really enjoyed it but I would put a little extra potatoes, carrots, and celery in mine if I were making it.

I love putting green beans in my stews. Sometimes I’ll put dumplings in also. Stews are very filling and good for cold days. I also serve mine with biscuits.

You can make stews out of any kind of meats and vegetables — but remember, stews are made with a gravy base not just liquids. Soups have a broth that isn’t thickened. If you want your stew thicker, just use some instant mashed potatoes, which tastes better than using a regular thickener such as flour and water.

I recently made a pot of potato soup and put sliced kielbasa in it. I usually put in ham, but didn’t have any; the kielbasa gave it a very good flavor. I have so many different potato soup recipes, even one that uses hard-boiled eggs (and it’s very good).

Until next time, enjoy these recipes.

Creamy Bratwurst Stew

• 4 medium potatoes, cubed

• 2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped

• 2 celery ribs, chopped

• 1 cup chopped onion

• 3/4 cup chopped green peppers

• 2 lbs. fresh bratwurst links cut into one-inch slices

• 1/2 cup chicken broth

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1 tsp. drained basil

• 1/2 tsp. pepper

• 2 cups half and half cream

• 3 tbsp. corn starch

• 3 tsp. cold water

In a five quart slow-cooker, combine the potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, and green pepper. Add bratwurst slices. Combine the broth, slat basil and pepper; pour over top. Cover and cook on low for seven hours or until veggies are tender and sausage is no longer pink. Stir in cream. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into stew. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until the gravy is thickened.

Beer Stew

• 1/4 cup flour

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1/4 tsp. pepper

• 3 lbs. beef chuck roast in 1 1/2 cubes

• 3 tbsp. oil

• 2 cups beer

• 1 cup water

• 3 beef bouillon cubes

• 1 lb. carrots, cut into thirds

• 1 lb. tiny whole onions (18-24)

• 1 lb. fresh green beans or 1 (9 oz.) package of frozen green beans

• 6 potatoes, pared and quartered

• 1 green pepper, cut into strips

Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge meat in seasoned flour and brown in hot oil in a Dutch oven or heavy pan. Drain off excess fat and add beer, water, and bouillon cubes. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until meat is almost tender. Add carrots, onions, green beans, potatoes, and green pepper. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables and meat are tender.

Brunswick County Stew

• 4 whole chicken breasts, split

• 2 medium onions, chopped

• 2 (16 oz.) cans peeled tomatoes or diced tomatoes

• 1 cup water

• 2 tsp. salt

• 1/8 tsp. pepper

• 1 cup sliced celery with leaves

• 1/4 tsp. each marjoram, basil, thyme, and tabasco sauce

• 3 sprigs parsley

• 1 (16 oz.) can whole corn

• 1 package frozen fordhook lima beans

• 3 tbsp. butter

• 2 tbsp. flour

Skin chicken and sprinkle on all sides with salt. Brown in butter in deep pot. Remove chicken, add onion, and brown lightly. Return chicken to pot and add tomatoes, water, celery, salt, herbs, tabasco sauce and sprigs of parsley. Cover and simmer about one hour or until chicken is done. Take chicken out and remove bones. Leave pieces quite large and return to pot along with corn and lima beans. Remove and discard the parsley. Cook 20 minutes longer. Melt butter and mix in flour, adding a small amount of hot liquid gradually and stir until smooth. Slowly add to stew, stirring occasionally until thickened. Serve in flat soup plates with hot cornbread.

Elephant Stew

• 1 elephant

• Salt and pepper

• 2 rabbits (optional)

Dice elephant into small pieces (this should take about two months). Add enough brown gravy to cover and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook over kerosene stove about four weeks. Serves approximately 3.800 people. If additional guests are expected, two rabbits may be added to stew, but only if necessary, because most guests do not like to find hares in their stew.

Bon Apetit! I couldn’t resist including this in my column.

Penny Case is a lifelong resident of Wellington who loves to cook and share recipes. Send recipes to her at 22 Johns St. or at

Penny’s Pantry Penny Case’s Pantry Penny Case