The idea is simple: meat, root vegetables, plenty of liquid, and a long, slow cook---there are as many variations as there are cooks. The version I use has many virtues, not the least being that once you’ve assembled all the ingredients in one pot, you don’t have to attend to it, except to turn down the oven heat once. It’s the kind of thing I make before I leave for a busy afternoon when I won’t be home until just around when we want to eat. This will feed 4 to 5 hungry people.
1 lb veal stew meat (or other stew meat), cut into chunks
12-16 oz aromatic sausage (sweet Italian; chicken with mushrooms; whatever you like), cut into chunks
2 onions, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced into lengths
2 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
1 lb baby carrots
5 potatoes, peeled and quartered
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp coriander seeds (optional)
1 bay leaf (optional)
2-3 cups chicken or other soup stock (canned will work just fine)
Preheat oven to 300 F.
In a large oven-proof pot with a well-fitting lid, layer the onion, garlic, veal, sausage, carrots and last potatoes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and coriander seeds. Put in bay leaf. Pour in enough stock so that everything is at least partially submerged. (The onions and carrots will release liquid, too.) Cover and place pot on center rack of oven.
After 1 hour, turn oven heat down to 220 F. Cook for several hours more—at least 1, as many as 5 or 6 or whenever you finally can get to the pot. The flavors will only intensify with time. It’ll make a fair amount of liquid which I store in a jar and use as leftover broth, really delicious with leftover rice or noodles.
Note: If you don’t have broth, use 2 to 3 medium onions per lb. of meat plus 1/4 cup of water (to prevent sticking at the beginning), and you should produce more than enough liquid as it cooks.