Slow Food: Marvelous Mulligatawny Stew

Food is often evocative of memories – and a hot, spicy bowl of mulligatawny stew will always remind me of my friend Sarah. We worked together and became fast friends, and she will always remain, in my memory, one of the kindest people I’ve known. From the first time I tried this dish, the assertiveness of curry juxtaposed with the sweetness of tart apple and raisins made it unforgettable.

The curry powder is a clue about this dish’s origins, and there certainly seems to be room for creativity with it, since there are apparently many variations. Further, my research indicates that it’s typically called “soup”, rather than “stew”, though there’s really a fine (and arguably tenuous) line between the two terms; stew seems to be a soup with less liquid. Regardless of accuracy, to me, this recipe is and will remain stew. Call it what you like.

Sarah’s version of the stew was made with chicken, but it works just as well with rabbit. I cook the rabbit first in a slow cooker, then refrigerate the meat for a day or two (until I’m ready to make the stew).

Slow Cooker Mulligatawny Stew

  • 4 cups cooked, cubed chicken or rabbit
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 small tart apples, chopped
  • 1 large potato, cubed
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 cups water
  • Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for at least 6 hours – you’ll know the stew is ready when the apples and potatoes are soft. Serve over rice, if desired, or paired with a slice of crusty bread. A dollop of sour cream (or kefir cream!), as suggested by this BBC recipe, would also be a tasty addition. Makes 8 servings.

Notes: this recipe lends itself well to adding leftover veggies, like the partial head of cauliflower that I found patiently sitting in the crisper drawer. Root veggies, like parsnip, rutabaga, and kohlrabi, would be great in it…and you could substitute chopped celeriac (about 1/2 cup) for the celery stalks.

Make this vegetarian by subbing vegetable broth for the chicken stock and  replacing the meat with your choice of meatless analog (seitan would work well), beefy mushrooms like portobello, or lentils.

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