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Imbolc 2010

Carin Huber (photo)
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Cambric Stew

Tell her to make me a cambric shirt,
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Without no seams nor needlework.
Then she'll be a true love of mine.

From Elizabethan through Edwardian times, cambric fabric was a staple of the tailor's craft. Made in varying grades from either linen or cotton, it was used for everything from neck ruffs to night gowns, summer dresses to dress shirts, bodices to book covers. It was both common and classic. Now it's difficult to find at all, but in its day, cambric's versatility was its greatest asset.

This stew, like cambric, is both common and classic, as well as being versatile. I like to make it with goat or lamb, but it can be made just as well with less gamy meats. You may want to ease up a little on the rosemary if you're using chicken or other fowl, though. Fish is not suitable for such a long cooking time, and is generally too delicately flavored to stand up to these seasonings.

from the kitchen of Carin Huber

Suggested Listening

"Scarborough Faire" The Concert in Central Park by Simon & Garfunkel


Bottle Short of a Six Pack
Click here for definitions of difficulty levels.


Full page recipe (pdf format)
3x5 card recipe (pdf format)


U.S. Metric Ingredient
2 lb 1 kg meat, cut into bite size pieces (reserve any bones)
6 green onions (Welsh onions), bulbs sliced, tops roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled

2 c

250 g flour
1 Tbsp 3 g dried parsley
1 tsp 1 g dried, rubbed sage
1 tsp 1 g dried rosemary
1 tsp 1 g dried thyme
1 tsp 7 g salt
1 tsp 7 g pepper
2 bay leaves
1 lb .45 kg carrots, cut into bite-size pieces
1 lb .45 kg potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
8 oz 225 g mushrooms, sliced
2 c 500 ml wine (use red wine with red meat; white wine for white meat)
4 c 1 L water
1 Tbsp 14 ml olive or vegetable oil, keep on hand to add extra as needed

You Will Also Need

  • slow cooker/crockpot
  • cheesecloth (if you have bones)
  • zipper baggie, gallon-sized, or a clean produce bag from your local grocery store

Chef's Notes
If your slow cooker gets hot enough quickly enough on high heat, you can do the browning right in it, then turn it down for the long stewing. Just make sure your liquids are at least room temperature before pouring them into a hot crock. Otherwise, do the browning in a skillet on your stove, and transfer the ingredients to the slow cooker.

If the meat you are using does not have any bones, simply add the bay leaves directly to the pot, then remove them before serving. (Or just warn diners to watch for them.)

Slow cooking saves time. When you know you're going to have a busy day tomorrow, do all the prep up to putting the browned bones and meat and the vegetables in the pot, then stick it in the fridge overnight. In the morning you can just pop the pot into the heating base of your cooker, pour in the liquids, and leave it be until an hour before dinner, when you'll spend all of 5 minutes stirring the reserved onions and mushrooms into the stew.

The AntiCraft assumes any well stocked kitchen to have certain things on hand. (Click for our basic kitchen items list)

Serves 6-8. Prep time: 30 - 45 minutes, depending on how bony the meat is. Cooking time: 30 minutes browning, 6-8 hours stewing.


Brown the bones in a tablespoon of oil. Remove them onto a couple layers of cheesecloth. Add the bay leaves to the bones, then tie the cheesecloth into a bundle around them. Set aside.

Caramelize the onions and garlic in same pan. Remove and reserve about half of the onions, leaving the garlic in pan.

Put the flour, salt, pepper, parsely, sage, rosemary, and thyme into the bag. Close the bag and shake until the seasonings are well mixed into the flour. Add the meat and shake again, until every piece of meat is well coated in the seasoned flour. Remove the meat from the excess flour, and brown it in the pan with the onions and garlic, adding oil as needed.

Once the meat is nicely browned, put it in the slow cooker. Put the bone bundle in the pot, top the meat with carrots and potatoes, and pour in wine and water. Cover and cook on low to medium heat for 6-8 hours.

About 1 hour before serving, remove and discard the bone bundle and stir the mushrooms and reserved onions into the stew. Stir well, so that the flour from the meat thickens the gravy. Increase the heat to high for one hour.

Serve with a crusty French bread that's slathered with real butter. Yum!


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