AskDefine | Define stew

Dictionary Definition



1 agitation resulting from active worry; "don't get in a stew"; "he's in a sweat about exams" [syn: fret, sweat, lather, swither]
2 food prepared by stewing especially meat or fish with vegetables


1 be in a huff; be silent or sullen [syn: grizzle, brood]
2 bear a grudge; harbor ill feelings [syn: grudge]
3 cook slowly and for a long time in liquid; "Stew the vegetables in wine"

User Contributed Dictionary

see Stew



; stew was originally a cauldron; from Old French estuve (stove), related to estuver (to heat in steam), which is probably from Greek τῦφος (smoke, steam).


  • (RP): /stuː/, /stu:/
  • (US): sto͞o, /stu/, /stu/
  • Rhymes: -uː


  1. A dish cooked by stewing.





  1. To cook (food) by slowly boiling or simmering.
  2. To brew (tea) for too long, so that the flavour becomes too strong.


cook (food)
brew (tea)


  1. intransitive informal To suffer under uncomfortably hot conditions.
  2. intransitive informal To be in a state of elevated anxiety or consideration.



suffer under hot conditions
be in a state of elevated anxiety

Derived terms


Extensive Definition

For the musician see Stew (musician).
A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in water or other water-based liquid, typically by simmering, and that are then served without being drained.
Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables (potatoes, beans, etc.), fruits (such as peppers and tomatoes), meat, poultry, sausages and seafood. While water can be used as the stew-cooking liquid, wine, stock, and beer are also common. Seasoning and flavourings may also be added. Stews are typically cooked at a relatively low temperature (simmered, not boiled), to allow flavors to marry.
The distinctions between stew, soup, and casserole are fine ones. The ingredients of a stew may be cut into larger pieces than a those of a soup and retain more of their individual flavours; a stew may have thicker liquid than a soup, and more liquid than a casserole; a stew is more likely to be eaten as a main course than as a starter, unlike soup; and a stew can be cooked on either the stove top (or range) or in the oven, while casseroles are almost always cooked in the oven, and soups are almost always cooked on the stovetop. There are exceptions; for example, an oyster stew is thin bodied, more like a soup. The choice of name is largely a matter of custom; it is possible for the same dish to be described as soup, stew, or casserole.
Stewing is suitable for the least tender cuts of meat that become tender and juicy with the slow moist heat method. This makes it popular in low-cost cooking. Cuts having a certain amount of marbling and gelatinous connective tissue give moist, juicy stews, while lean meat may easily become dry.
Stews may be thickened by reduction, but are more often thickened with flour, either by coating pieces of meat with flour before searing, or by using a roux or beurre manié, a dough consisting of equal parts of butter and flour. Other thickeners like cornstarch or arrowroot may also be used.


Food has been boiled since prehistoric times, first using naturally occurring vessels and later pottery. Herodotus says that the Scythians (8th to 4th centuries BC) "put the flesh into an animal's paunch, mix water with it, and boil it like that over the bone fire. The bones burn very well, and the paunch easily contains all the meat once it has been stripped off. In this way an ox, or any other sacrificial beast, is ingeniously made to boil itself." Some sources consider that this was how boiling was first done by primitive man, perhaps as long ago as ½ to 1 million years ago.
There is ample evidence that primitive tribes which survived into the 19th and 20th centuries boiled foods together. Amazonian tribes used the shells of turtles as vessels, boiling the entrails of the turtle and various other ingredients in them. Other cultures used the shells of large mollusks (clams etc.) to boil foods in. There is archaeological evidence of these practices going back 8,000 years or more.
The Book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible records that Esau traded his inheritance to his twin brother Jacob for a meal of lentil stew.
There are recipes for lamb stews & fish stews in the Roman cookery book Apicius, believed to date from the 4th century. Le Viandier, one of the oldest cookbooks in French, written by the French chef known as Taillevent (1310-1395, real name Guillaume Tirel) has ragouts or stews of various types in it.
Hungarian Goulash dates back to the 9th century Magyar shepherds of the area, before the existence of Hungary. Paprika was added in the 18th century.
The first written reference to 'Irish stew' is in Byron's 'Devil's Drive' (1814): "The Devil . . . dined on . . . a rebel or so in an Irish stew.”
Popular recipes for regional stews, such as gumbo, bouillabaise, Brunswick stew, and burgoo were published during the 19th century and increased in popularity during the 20th.

Types of stew

In meat-based stews, white stews, also known as blanquettes or fricassées, are made with lamb or veal that is blanched, or lightly seared without browning, and cooked in stock. Brown stews are made with pieces of red meat that are first seared or browned, before a browned mirepoix, sometimes browned flour, stock and wine are added.

List of stews

See also


stew in German: Eintopf
stew in Spanish: Guisado
stew in Persian: خورش ایرانی
stew in French: Ragoût
stew in Hebrew: נזיד
stew in Malayalam: ഇഷ്ടു
stew in Dutch: Stoofpot
stew in Japanese: シチュー
stew in Norwegian: Gryte (mat)
stew in Polish: Eintopf
stew in Portuguese: Guisado
stew in Russian: Айнтопф
stew in Turkish: Yahni
stew in Chinese: 炖

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

B-girl, Cyprian, Irish stew, Paphian, ado, agitation, agonize, all sorts, all-overs, angst, anxiety, anxiety hysteria, anxiety neurosis, anxious bench, anxious concern, anxious seat, anxiousness, apply the mind, apprehension, apprehensiveness, assemblage, assortment, baffle, bafflement, bagnio, bake, barbecue, baste, bawdy house, bawdyhouse, be in heat, be livid, be pissed, befuddlement, bewilderment, bind, blanch, blaze, bloom, bluster, boil, booze up, boozehound, boozify, bordello, bother, botheration, bottle sucker, bouillabaisse, braise, breathless impatience, brew, broad spectrum, broil, brothel, brown, bum, burn, burn to, burst, bustle, call girl, cankerworm of care, care, carry on, cathouse, chafe, chafing, chaos, choke, chowder, churn, clip joint, cloud, clutch, coddle, combust, commotion, complication, concern, concernment, confoundment, confusion, conglomeration, cook, crib, crock, crunch, curry, daughter of joy, daze, den, den of thieves, den of vice, devil, dilemma, discombobulation, discomfiture, discomposure, disconcert, disconcertedness, disconcertion, disconcertment, disorder, disorderly house, disorganization, disorientation, disquiet, disquietude, distill, distress, disturbance, dither, dive, do, do to perfection, dread, dudgeon, dump, eagerness, elbow bender, embarrassing position, embarrassment, enigma, erring sister, etuvee, excitement, fallen woman, fear, feery-fary, ferment, fidgetiness, fille de joie, fine how-do-you-do, fire, fit, fix, flame, flame up, flap, flare, flare up, fleshpots, flicker, flummox, flurry, flush, fluster, flusteration, flustration, flutter, flutteriness, foam, fog, foofaraw, foreboding, forebodingness, frenzy, fret, fret and fume, fretfulness, fretting, fricassee, frizz, frizzle, fry, fuddle, fuddlement, fume, fuss, fussiness, gallimaufry, gasp, get excited, ginhound, glow, go on, goulash, griddle, grill, gyp joint, hammer at, hammer away at, hardly wait, harlot, hash, haste, hasten, have a conniption, haze, heat, hell to pay, high dudgeon, hobble, hodgepodge, hole, hooch hound, hooker, hot water, hotchpot, hotchpotch, house of assignation, house of joy, house of prostitution, how-do-you-do, hubbub, huff, hullabaloo, hustler, imbroglio, impatience, impatientness, impetuousness, incandesce, inquietude, itch to, jam, joint, jumble, jump the gun, lair, lather, lush, lusher, maelstrom, magpie, malaise, mash, maze, meat stew, medley, melange, meretrix, mess, miff, mingle-mangle, miscellany, misgiving, mishmash, mist, mix, mixed bag, mixture, morass, muddle, muddlement, mulligan, mulligan stew, mystery, nervous strain, nervous tension, nervousness, nonplus, odds and ends, olio, olla, olla podrida, omnium-gatherum, oven-bake, overanxiety, overtake, oyster stew, paella, painted woman, pan, pan-broil, panel den, panel house, pant, parboil, parch, parlous straits, pass, pasticcio, pastiche, patchwork, perplexity, perturbation, pet, pickle, pinch, pins and needles, pique, pissed off, plaster, plight, poach, pollute, pother, potpourri, poule, predicament, prepare, prepare food, pretty pass, pretty pickle, pretty predicament, problem, prostitute, pucker, puzzle, puzzle over, puzzlement, quagmire, quandary, quicksand, radiate heat, rage, ragout, raise Cain, raise hell, raise the devil, raise the roof, rant, rant and rave, rave, red-light district, restiveness, restlessness, riddle, roast, ruffle, rum hound, rummy, salad, salmagundi, sauce, saute, scald, scallop, scarlet woman, scorch, scramble, scrape, sear, seethe, seraglio, shimmer with heat, shirr, shuffle, simmer, sink of iniquity, sizzle, slough, smoke, smolder, smother, smoulder, soak, solicitude, souse, spark, spasm, sponge, sporting, sporting house, spot, spurt, squeeze, squirm, state, steam, stew over, stews, sticky wicket, stifle, stir, stir-fry, stone, storm, strain, strait, straits, streetwalker, suffocate, suspense, swack, swamp, sweat, sweat and stew, sweat it out, swelter, swillbelly, swillbowl, swillpot, swirl, swivet, take on, tenderloin, tense readiness, tension, think hard, throw a fit, tiff, tight spot, tight squeeze, tightrope, tipsify, tizzy, to-do, toast, tricky spot, trouble, tumult, turmoil, twitter, twitteration, unassuredness, uneasiness, unfortunate woman, unholy mess, unpatientness, unquiet, unquietness, unsettlement, upset, vexation, vortex, wait impatiently, what you will, whirl, white slave, whore, whorehouse, wino, worry, zeal
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1