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Old 02-25-2007, 11:43 AM   #1
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Stew versus Casserole

Hi everyone, is there a difference between a stew and a casserole or are they the same? i.e. a mixture of meat and veg cooked on a low heat for a long time.

Nina

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Old 02-25-2007, 11:50 AM   #2
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I would say no, casseroles are usually baked in the oven, for me at least.
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Old 02-25-2007, 11:56 AM   #3
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Casseroles are usually drier than stews. A stew has liquid among the meats and or veggies. It's closer to a thick soup. A casserole usually has less liquid, and sometimes, none at all.
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Old 02-25-2007, 12:40 PM   #4
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The more I thought about the matter the more confused I became.

So I went to the Food Lover's Companion.

They do not come down to a succinct definition of casserole but it seems to be a dish that is cooked and served in the same casserole pot, that is a deep ovenproof vessel that will take a tight fitting lid. Have made what I call a casserole and cooked it with no lid at all, or just covered with foil, but will not quibble here.

Alternatively a stew is a dish that is prepared by stewing. Did not like that definition a whole lot, kinda like saying chicken fried steak is steak that is chicken fried. But to give them their due, they go on to say that stewing is cooking food that is barely covered by a liquid and simmered slowly in a tightly covered pot. Seems to me I have made many a dish that I would consider a stew and did not cover the pot, but the Food Lover's Companion seems to be fixated on lids. So be it.

That didn't seem to entirely clarify the matter for me, but what the heck. If I think it is a casserole, I'll call it that. And if it seems like a stew I'll use that moniker.

If it is not sure what it is, I'll probably call it whatever I feel like. I figure I made it so I can name it.

It is, after all, cooking, not rocket science.
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Old 02-25-2007, 01:25 PM   #5
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Hi Auntdot, thanks for your answer it was great, it made me laugh!!! I just love your wit - I guess your right, as long as it tastes good what the heck does it matter what we call it.

Nina
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Old 02-25-2007, 02:23 PM   #6
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Hi, just looked in our dictionary and it says for Stew - To boil slowly ; to simmer, A dish of stewed meat and vegetables served in gravy. Casserole a glass or earthenware dis in which food may be baked and served. Hope this helps a little !
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Old 02-25-2007, 03:54 PM   #7
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Thanks for the compliment nina.

Love Britain, we try to get there as often as we can.

Unfortunately for us it is so dear, we cannot get there as often as we would like.

Always meet so many lovely folks there.

Take care and God bless.
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Old 04-14-2007, 02:41 AM   #8
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Not sure if this is worth an awful lot, but I grew up in England and have a 'mental picture' of the two which may help, from my mum and other relatives and I guess pub meals etc too.

A 'stew', to me, usually suggests something which I can eat with a fork or spoon in my right hand and dunk bread into. Any meat is boned and cut into small chunks (except for something like rabbit stew, which is very bony and needs a knife and fork to separate the meat after cooking). A stew would generally be self-contained and served in a bowl, maybe with a chunk of bread.

A 'casserole' on the other hand would usually suggest (to me) larger pieces of meat, like turkey drumsticks, chicken breasts or lamb shanks. There would be some vegetables and juice in the pot with it of course, but it would probably be served on a plate with separate vegetables (like mashed potatoes and steamed beans), and a knife would almost certainly be required.

A casserole would also tend to imply something a bit more fancy or European, as opposed to a stew which was basic English peasant food. Perhaps 'casserole' was originally simply the French word for 'stew'?!

I agree with auntdot that the person who cooks it can call it whatever they darn well like, but I would usually be fairly confident of distinguishing between the two, in my own mind at least.

That'll be 2c thanks
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Old 06-04-2008, 10:22 AM   #9
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From Wiki.

Casserole

Quote:
A casserole, from the French for "sauce pan,"[1] is a large, deep pot or dish used both in the oven and as a serving dish. The word casserole is also used for the food cooked and served in such a dish.

Casseroles originate from the ancient practice of stewing meat slowly in earthenware containers.
Ah, now we are in trouble.

Maybe it comes down to method of cooking. A Casserole is cooked in the oven with lid on. A stew is cooked on the stove top apparently also with lid on.

Edit: In fact wiki does make a distinction between the two.

Quote:
stewing is a cooking process whereby heat is applied to the bottom of the cooking vessel (typically over a fire or on a hob), whereas casseroling is done in an oven where heat circulates all round the cooking vessel.
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Old 06-04-2008, 10:24 AM   #10
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Many casseroles are prepared with already cooked items and combined and heated in the oven.
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