When I first thought about putting together a blog I always wanted it to feature imperfection, the mistakes, the journey. It’s through these things that we learn, adjust and tweak until we finally have something just the way we like it. I wanted to be able show things in a way that wasn’t daunting, that encouraged and celebrated the experiments. There are of course many of these that don’t get recorded of course but here, to begin in celebration of imperfection….the imperfect stew.
Stews are actually something I feel quite safe with, a few basic building blocks and a bunch of time (and often a bunch of Thyme) generally lead to the sort of meal that makes winter take a couple of steps back from the house as I obstinately stare it down. So perhaps it’s fitting that this one was a bit of a misfire, even the tings we do all the time can go a bit topsy turvy, it’s a useful thing to be comfortable with.
This one begins as normal, pick some meat, see what veg is left in the fridge (stew is my go to ‘that needs using up’ food……actually, stew is just my go to, I do like to stew, it’s just so cosy), see what herbs are left in the fridge, bundle it all together with a bit of wine and lots of stock then slow and low it until out comes dinner joy, maybe adding something bulky like potatoes or (as in this case) lentils towards the end.
Those are the building blocks I think of when making a stew, meat, veg, herbs, stock, alcohol, time. They make it quite simple to mix things around and experiment with, everything needs to be quite robust but that aside it’s easy to throw new elements in, knowing even something powerful like vinegar will be softened with the cooking time.
So when I spotted a couple of marrow bones I didn’t think anything could go wrong, all that buttery richness cooking down, sounds perfect. In it’s defense it didn’t taste bad, rather splendid in fact, just eating half a bowl left a feeling akin to scoffing down a whole chocolate cake, that richness was overwhelming a few spoonfuls in.
All this though means I now know that about 6 inches of marrow bone per 4 people is probably going to be enough to add a bit of richness to the stew. And that is exactly why our imperfect moments and awry creations are completely vital. Without mucking around with these things we don’t really get better, we don’t learn what we like and how to create that. We can apply this so much to everything, our mistakes in life or in stew should not be lambasted, they are experiments that should be celebrated because in life, like stew, how can we learn what we love having in there, without chucking in a few things we end up taking back out.