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Real Stew: 300 Recipes for Authentic Home-Cooked Cassoulet, Gumbo, Chili, Curry, Minestrone, Bouillabaise, Stroganoff, Goulash, Chowder, and Much More (Non) Paperback – September 5, 2002

19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

The global scope of stews and other long-simmered, richly warming dishes is vast. Clifford Wright's Real Stew offers 300 recipes for this delicious fare--everything from basic Irish stew through stroganoff, bouillabaisse, gumbo, feijoada, and much more. What makes Wright's dishes--and cookbook--different from similar efforts (besides its "all-under-one-roof" commitment) is his insistence on authenticity. Readers will find, for example, a recipe for the famous French Daube Provençale that calls for salt pork in addition to slab bacon, plus beef or veal foot, among other ingredients. Wright's devotion to the real thing will excite most readers, and while it may discourage others, all will find the recipes clear and easy to follow. The results of Wright's devotion to formulas in every way justify the kitchen (and shopping) duty required.

The recipe selection is definitive. The section on lamb stews, for example, contains over 50 mouthwatering recipes, from the paprika-hot Classic Lamb Stew of Andalusia; piquant Abruzzi Lamb Stew with Egg and Lemon Custard; and Sweetly Saffroned Lamb, Onion, and Golden Raisin Stew of the Jews of Morocco; to Indian Rogan Josh and Martinique-Style Mutton Curry, among others. Other sections, like those on seafood stews and vegetable stews, are equally comprehensive--and enticing. Wright also provides inviting background material, and sidebars such as "What's a Cardoon?" and "Cuisine of the Poor," which details the birth of many stew-type dishes. With notes on equipment and a comprehensive list of ingredient sources, the book is full of worthwhile information as well as wonderful cooking. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

Wright, James Beard Award winner for Mediterranean Feast, could have subtitled this collection of recipes for one-pot meals from around the world "Comfort Foods of Many Nations." The usual international suspects are here, from Feijoada to Bouillabaisse, but with his trademark intellectual curiosity, Wright has uncovered plenty of less familiar dishes as well, such as a Thirteenth-Century Hispano-Muslim Stew with various cuts of lamb, cassia and lavender; and Piquant Mutton and Zucchini Stewed in Vinegar from Tunisia. Headnotes and sidebars are rich with etymology (Solyanka, a traditional Russian stew, means "confused") and history (the homeland of Octopus Stew from the Island of Djerba was believed to be the land of the lotus eaters mentioned by Homer). Chapters are divided by main ingredient in the stew, with selections heavy on meat there are separate chapters for beef, veal, lamb, etc., and the lamb chapter contains 60 of the book's 300 recipes. Even many of the selections in the vegetable chapter, such as Bean and Cabbage Stew from the Roussillon, are flavored with some meat. With dishes ranging from straightforward Braised Beef Short Ribs in Merlot to multilayered Duck, Sausage and Chestnut Stew from Lombardy, this is one book that can satisfy many palates.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Non
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Common Press (September 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558321993
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558321991
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,211,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Clifford A. Wright is a cook, food writer, and independent research scholar who won the James Beard/KitchenAid Cookbook of the Year award and the James Beard Award for the Best Writing on Food in 2000 for A Mediterranean Feast. His book A Mediterranean Feast was also a finalist for the cookbook of the year award given by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. He is the author of 16 books, fourteen of which are cookbooks, including his latest One-Pot Wonders. Colman Andrews, former editor of Saveur magazine called Wright 'the reigning English-speaking expert on the cuisines and culinary culture of the Mediterranean--the real Mediterranean, the whole Mediterranean.' Clifford writes regularly for Saveur, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Fine Cooking, and Food and Wine and wrote all the food entries for Columbia University's Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and the entry for tiramisu and other sweets in the Oxford Companion to Sweets. Clifford has also lectured on food at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University, Georgetown University, and the Culinary Institute of America among other universities and venues. As a cooking teacher he has taught cooking classes at the Rhode Island School of Design, Sur la Table, Central Market in Texas and other cooking schools around the United States and Italy.
Before writing about food, Clifford was a foreign policy researcher at the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., a Staff Fellow at the Institute of Arab Studies, Belmont, MA, the Executive Director of the American Middle East Peace Research Institute, Cambridge, MA and the publisher of Raising Kids, a child development newsletter for parents. He was written two books on the politics and history in the Middle East.
You can visit him at and his blog and read his food writing at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Catherine S. Vodrey on September 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am a longtime fan of cookbook author Clifford A. Wright, and was delighted to get a copy of his latest, "Real Stew." Perfect just as the weather starts coming on cold, this cookbook makes wonderful leisure-time reading and is chock-full of terrific recipes to boot.
Wright has set an ambitious agenda for himself here, including stews from all over the world. Hungarian Paprikash is here, as is Spicy Indian Eggplant Stew, Bedouin Lamb and Mushroom Stew, Swedish Sailor's Beef Stew, and more. I can't find one that doesn't come across as utterly mouthwatering. Stew is comfort food at its most primal, of course, and Wright gets down and dirty and primal with the ingredients. You'll find stews here calling for rabbit, for instance, and he even gives a brief overview of a Canadian specialty called Assiniboin Bear Stew (which he cautions you not to make unless you're prepared to marinate the bear meat in either wine or vinegar). Of course there are plenty of fish and shellfish stews as well.
Beautiful graphic design, numbered directions (in my view, a must for when the cook must look away for a moment), and easy-to-assemble ingredient lists help to make Wright's "Real Stew" a real winner for both beginner and experienced cooks.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb VINE VOICE on November 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
I generally do not review cookbooks, but I felt obliged to review Real Stew after seeing so many questions raised about its practicality.

I have owned this book for several years, and both my partner and I cook from it regularly. We give it as a gift to our friends and recommend it often and wholeheartedly. A number of the recipes are on very high rotation with us (the Austrian beer stew comes to mind) and it is never put away for very long in the colder months.

Wright is clearly interested in the history of these recipes as much as he is in the practical side of cooking. That is one of the things that I enjoy so much about it as a cook book. The historical side bars are fascinating and fun, and I really liked the chance to try out some of the ancestors of family favorites. Readers should use their common sense about how far they want to follow him down the road of some of the more historical recipes-- some of them are clearly included for the fun of it. I found that even the less practical entries added texture and humor to the work.

It is true that this isn't the book if you are looking for quick one-pot recipes which you can make in a half an hour and toss into the oven. This is more the kind of book for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon cooking together as a family.

As to the ingredients, it is also true that while some of them may be hard to pick up in the local supermarket, most of them should be able to be found with no real difficulty. You will need access to a good butcher and to a market or organic store which has some of the more out-of-the way vegetables. I live in Amsterdam, very far from the source and target market of most of these recipes, and I have still been able to locate most of the ingredients.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
I was dismayed to see that 25 of 27 readers found the panning review by "Houston TX Reader" (December 12, 2002) to be helpful. His review is seriously flawed, and very much misses the point. For one, Wright's "Cliff's No-Name Stew," which "Houston" lambastes, is clearly a tongue-in-cheek finale, a freezer-and-fridge-emptying fun project, and not one of the carefully researched ethnic recipes that Wright offers. While sometimes complex, these recipes and his notes give a clear and richly detailed account of a world of classic, authentic, and distinguished stews. "Houston" seems preoccupied with counting ingredients, and lacks the cook's common sense to omit or substitute -- there is no need to despair of parsley root or duck fat, or to vacate to "chefs with unlimited access." My concern, really, is not with "Houston," but with the 25 readers who may have given this book less than a fair look. Please try again.
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92 of 120 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I thought this book sounded fabulous. I love stews, and I like authentic food.
This book went too far off the deep end for me. I looked up cabbage as I had some on hand. One recipe called for 14 ingredients, including celery root (celeriac) and parsley root (try finding that ANYWHERE--it's similar to, but NOT, a parsnip).
Another called for 27 ingredients, including a 1/2 chicken, a parsnip, a turnip, a small amount of a hubbard squash (they don't COME in small amounts), etc.
The final straw was the recipe (with cabbage) that called for *39* ingredients, including (I'm not joking): beef honeycomb tripe, beef chuck flanken-style ribs, fresh chorizo or andouille sausage, prosciutto BONES, lamb shoulder, ham fat, ham bone, smoked slab bacon, boneless and skinless chicken thighs, goat meat on the bone, beef or veal marrow bones, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rinds, fresh fava beans, fresh fenugreek leaves, celeriac, beef feet and pig feet. I'm serious.
I flipped through the rest of the book, and things like "rendered duck or goose fat" kept cropping up along with other insane ingredients. I live in a huge metropolitan city and would have difficulty finding many of these ingredients.
I'm sure there are a few good recipes in this book, but it really seems written for chefs who have unlimited access to off-the-wall ingredients through their vendors. I'm thankful that I checked it out from the library before purchasing it. I won't be purchasing it.
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