Food & Drink

The Butcher’s Stew

The Butcher’s Stew is a speciality dish from Italy made with whatever cuts of meat the local butcher has on hand. This week’s recipe is easy and adaptable.


In Italy, a regional specialty dish of Bari is called Ragu del Macellaio or “The Butcher’s Stew.” There, it’s usually made with whatever cuts of meat the local butcher has on hand – often scraps of veal, pork, beef, lamb and such. I prefer to make my stew using just pork, but you can adapt this easy recipe and make it your way with whatever meats you’d like. I suggest serving The Butcher’s Stew over gnocchi, noodles, orecchiette, or rice. 


1/4 cup olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 lb. boneless stew meat such as pork, veal, beef, lamb, or a combination cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup drained, diced canned tomatoes (Italian-style Romas are best)

Approximately 1 1/2 cup chicken stock or water

1 medium carrot, peeled and diced

1 sprig thyme

1 sprig rosemary

2-3 small white or yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas

1/2 tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Fresh minced Italian parsley for garnish


  1. In a large, deep skillet or casserole, heat the olive oil and saute the sliced onion over medium heat until onion softens, about three minutes.
  2. Add the meat and brown lightly, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the tomatoes, carrot, salt, thyme, rosemary and a generous amount of black pepper. Stir.
  4. Pour in chicken broth or water until it just barely covers the meat. Cover and cook at a simmer for approximately 90 minutes. If the stew gets too dry, add a little more water or chicken stock.
  5. Add the potato pieces and continue cooking until the meat and potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  6. To finish, add the peas and cook for an additional two minutes or so, just to heat the peas through. Taste for salt and pepper; adjust, if necessary.

Serve garnished with the minced parsley. 

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