Margarita's International Recipes



Philosopher's Stew

Bacon. Really, do I need to say more? It's all about the bacon. I've used bacon in other stews before, but here the smoky, almost sweet flavor of bacon takes a prominent role. Of course, I used a bit more than in the original recipe (or at least I think so), but it was so worth it.

This stew takes its name from the idea that it can go anywhere, just like ideas. Add/substract whatever you want to it. But leave the potatoes and the beef, the combination is very comforting. As most stews, it tastes better the next day. Note that this is a slow cooking stew, allot 4 hours for it to be ready. Also note that I wasn't able to get the breadcrumbs to brown by putting the pot in the oven. If you have a broiler inside your oven, I'd recommend you broil it rather than bake it, just keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn. If your broiler, like mine, is under the oven, then I'd recommend that you transfer the stew to a oven-safe pan that will fit in your broiler, and then cover it with the potato slices.

Philosopher's Stew


  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. oil
  • 2 - 3 lbs beef chuck or equivalent, cubed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 strips of bacon, sliced
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, and cubed
  • 2 lbs red potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • salt
  • 1/3 cup red lentils
  • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup gin
  • bread crumbs
  • 4 Tbsp. melted butter


Heat the oil and butter over high heat in a large cooking pot. Add the beef and brown it on all sides. Turn down the heat to medium and add the onions and bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions caramelize. Add the stock and apples. Turn down the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 3 hours.

About half an hour before the stew is ready, boil the potatoes in salted water until cooked through but firm. Drain and set aside.

Stir in the lentils and cook until they have browned and the stew had thickened. Mix in the parsley and gin. Taste the stew and add salt if necessary.

Put the sliced potatoes on top of the stew, layering on top of each other. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and pour the melted butter on top.

Broil until the breadcrumbs are golden.

Adapted from Karin Engelbrecht's recipe at

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