Stew and braising recipes took a big leap up in popularity this year as more people embraced slow cookers as a great way to manage meals when life gets too busy. The low-and-slow braise needed to tenderize meat and meld flavors works perfectly in the slow cooker, although of course a Dutch oven and a low flame will do just as well.
Whatever your cooking method, these 10 stews and braises are our most popular — and for good reason. From beef, to pork, to chicken, to lamb, we've got you covered. (And we've even got a recipe for vegetarians!)
Pulled pork is the perennial favorite and rightly so. It's easy to make (low and slow, with lots of hands-off time) and so versatile. Just for starters, you can use it in pulled pork sandwiches, pulled pork tacos, pulled pork BBQ, and pulled pork on pasta. (We could go on.) This recipe walks us through, step by step, so there's no guesswork. It's no wonder this is one of our top braise/stew recipes of all time!
Braises are not necessarily for meat only, as this fabulous vegetarian dish reminds us. Chickpeas and spinach are slow-cooked in coconut milk, ginger, garlic, and a splash of lemon to finish. Serve it over a baked sweet potato and you have all your daily dose of veg in one sitting! Ease and innovation make this our most go-to vegetarian braise.
This is a fascinating and tasty take on Jamie Oliver's famous chicken cooked in milk recipe. It works because the long braising helps the sweet and pungent flavors of coconut milk, lemongrass, and star anise to penetrate the bird. A last-minute addition of greens quickly wilt down and the whole delicious mess is spooned over rice. No further explanation is needed as to why this one tops our charts!
This is the dish that helped to usher in a new era of cooking in America back in the 1960s. Culture-shifting moments aside, Julia Child's boeuf bourguignon is iconic first and foremost because it's so delicious. We updated things a little by bringing in the slow cooker for convenience. And while the classic pearl onions are optional here, go on and give them a try. It's totally worth it!
Here's a life tip: Always have a few containers of homemade bolognese sauce in your freezer for those nights when a fast meal is needed or you've invited a friend over for a casual dinner. This recipe makes it so easy to achieve this goal — even if you don't have a slow cooker. It's a classic low-and-slow braise of ground beef, vegetables, a few spices, wine, and that magic ingredient that makes it bolognese: milk. And it's fabulous!
Shredded meat is extremely versatile and it's very easy to make — most of the magic happens in the hands-off, slow-braise stage to produce tender, moist, and shreddable meat. Of all the proteins, chicken is the easiest, most inexpensive, and the quickest. This recipe gives you everything you need to make a batch of tender and delicious shredded chicken, whether you use your oven or your slow cooker.
This popular New Mexican pork and green chile stew is the perfect candidate to make on a lazy Sunday and then live off of the rest of the week. It's spicy, hearty, and gets better with time, so be sure to make it a few days in advance.
You may think that the chicken thighs are the secret ingredient in this delicious, hearty stew because they add flavor and cook up quickly. Or perhaps you're sure it's the bacon, since we all know what bacon does to those of us born of mortal flesh. But as stellar as those ingredients are, there's a third ingredient that's the true secret ingredient. Can you guess what it is?
The flavors of Morocco have become very popular as of late, and for good reason. While this stew isn't cooked in a traditional tagine, it still features classic flavors like apricot and almond, and spices like cumin, coriander, and cinnamon. Served over couscous and topped with cilantro, this beautiful, fragrant stew is sure to delight.
10. Lamb Rogan Josh
Rogan Josh is a Kashmiri lamb/mutton stew that's starting to gain popularity outside of India. This Hindu version is without garlic (and lists the onions as optional) and is packed with fiery chile heat. Yogurt brings things into balance and offers some tang, while cardamom, clove, fennel, cinnamon, and black peppercorns lend complex spice.