What Is Mulligan Stew?
The name “mulligan stew” has been attributed to various sources, but it may have originated in Ireland during the Great Famine.
The Irish were forced by the British government to move their landholdings into larger farms that produced more food than they could consume themselves.
This led to the mass starvation of many people.
In response, some families began making soup containing whatever scraps they had on hand.
In this case, they combined pieces of leftover meat, potatoes, turnips, carrots, cabbage, peas, onions, parsley, and other vegetables in a pot.
They then added water or stock and boiled them until all the ingredients were mushy.
Then, when the soup was done cooking, the family would add salt pork (or bacon) and serve the dish as dinner.
Today, mulligan stew can be found throughout the world and is typically served at New Year’s Eve parties.
While there are no official recipes, you can easily recreate what was once an Irish staple.
It should also be noted that mulligan stew is not always made with leftover meats.
Some versions include chicken, fish, or vegetable chunks instead of the traditional beef stew meat.
You might even find a version that uses canned beans!
Where Did The Recipe For Mulligan Stew Come From?
The origin of this dish can be traced back to the American Civil War, when soldiers would cook up their rations in a pot called a “stew-pot” (or “stewpan”).
A soldier known as “Sgt Mulligan” was said to have been the first person to serve mulligan stew to his fellow soldiers.
At that time, soldiers were given two meals per day — breakfast at 8am and dinner at 4pm.
Soldiers who didn’t eat all of their food had to throw away what they couldn’t finish so that there was enough left over to feed others later on.
The leftover scraps were put into one large pot and cooked over low heat until it became a thick, viscous soup.
After some years, Sgt Mulligan started serving mulligan stew to other soldiers.
He also began adding different ingredients to the soup to create new variations.
Today, people around the world enjoy eating mulligan stew because it tastes great and provides plenty of nourishment.
In this article, we will look at where the original recipe for mulligan stew came from, how many calories are in mulligan stew, and how to prepare mulligan stew.
Read on to learn more about mulligan stew!
Recipe for mulligan stew
For mulligan stew, you need just four main ingredients:
(1) Beef Broth
To start cooking your mulligan stew, mix together all of the above ingredients in a big pot or Dutch oven.
Bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for several hours.
You should add salt after the first hour of cooking if you don’t already use salt in your daily diet.
Once the meat has fallen apart completely, remove the bones and any fat before blending everything together.
Add hot water, cover, and allow it to cool down before storing it in the refrigerator overnight.
If you want to take mulligan stew out of storage, reheat it gently while stirring regularly.
You may want to add a little bit more seasoning than originally intended.
Here are the nutritional facts for mulligan stew:
How Do You Make Mulligan Stew?
You can find mulligan stew recipes all over the internet, but what makes this particular dish so appealing?
Is it the taste or the complexity that draws people to mulligan stew?
Or maybe both.
This article will examine these questions as well as look at how mulligan stew came about and who first served up the meal in question.
Let’s start by examining where the recipe for mulligan stew comes from.
The original stew was likely created during the Great Depression when many families were struggling financially.
The term “mulligan” refers to a person who has nothing left after they have spent everything on food.
A mulligan stew would be a one-pot meal that would provide sustenance for those who had no money left.
There are some variations on the mulligan stew theme out there.
You might see them referred to as “stew” instead of “mulligan stew” since they often contain more meat than other stews.
These include things like chicken mulligan stew, vegetarian mulligan stew, and vegan mulligan stew.
There are even mulligan salads! So if you want something different, check out our list of 15 best mulligan stew recipes.
They’re sure to please your palate.
But back to the mulligan itself.
Here are some interesting facts about mulligans, including their origins.
Who invented mulligan stew?
While mulligan stew may have been around before the Great Depression, it was not until the 1930s that the name became popularized.
That decade saw an increase in unemployment due to the effects of the economic downturn.
In order to combat the problem, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) program.
This organization provided work opportunities to young men between the ages of 18 and 25.
CCC camps were set up across the country to help restore national parks and forests, create parkways, build bridges, and construct roads.
One camp was located in Mulligan, Texas, which is now known as Camp Mulligan State Park.
During the years 1935 through 1942, thousands of young men arrived at Camp Mulligan to live, learn new skills, and serve the community.
Many of them returned home having learned valuable life lessons, such as hard work, responsibility, and compassion.
It is believed that the word “mulligan” originated because the men brought their own personal cookware with them into the camp.
When the cooks ran low on supplies, they asked the men to bring them additional items needed to prepare meals.
Since the men didn’t know how to cook, they simply gave the cooks whatever they could spare from their meager rations.
What does mulligan stew mean?
It is thought that “mulligan” comes from the Irish Gaelic word móilgín meaning “to empty.” As mentioned above, mulligans were given away by the men living at the CCC camps in exchange for extra groceries.
It is also possible that the word “mulligan” originates from the French verb malgreer meaning “to go without.”
Why is mulligan stew considered a staple of American cuisine?
As we just noted, the CCC camps were set up to address issues related to the Great Depression.
However, once World War II ended in 1945, the economy began improving dramatically.
People started buying cars and homes again and spending money freely.
By 1950, the economy was booming and the population grew rapidly.
The number of Americans living below the poverty line dropped significantly, going down to 12 percent in 1960 compared to 17 percent in 1940.
Because of this change in society, there was less need for cheap fare like mulligan stew.
However, as the economy improved, people wanted more nutritious options.
Thus, mulligan stew reemerged as another way to feed hungry mouths.
What Are The Ingredients In Mulligan Stew?
There are many varieties of mulligans, but they all have similar components.
The most common ingredients include potatoes, corn, carrots, beans or lentils, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, ham hocks, and spices such as cumin, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, and bay leaves.
Each variation has its own unique flavor profile that makes it different from the other versions.
Here’s what each part adds to your meal:
Beef Broth Base
This serves as the foundation for this dish.
The meaty taste and smell of the stock helps bring out the flavors in your food.
Beef broths can be found at any grocery store or butcher shop.
They come in various strengths depending on how long you want the soup to cook before eating it.
These help thicken up the stew while adding some starchiness.
You can choose between red or white potatoes for this part of the recipe.
Some people prefer the creamier texture of the white potato, while others find them too starchy.
Either way, both are excellent choices.
You will need these to give your stew some color and sweetness.
Carrots add more nutrients than just being colorful.
They contain high amounts of vitamin A, C, K, B6, folate, manganese, copper, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and sulfur.
While there are several types of onion available, yellow onions tend to work best here.
Yellow onions are sweeter than their red counterparts, which means less cooking time is needed.
If you don’t like onions, then try using green ones instead.
A large head of cabbage works well for providing bulk to your stew.
Although some recipes suggest removing the outer layer of the cabbage first, it doesn’t really matter whether you remove the leaves or not.
Just remember to cut off any tough parts if you decide to use whole heads of cabbage.
If you plan to eat this stew plain, then you might consider skipping the lentils altogether.
However, if you want to serve it over rice, then you should definitely add them into the mix.
Ham hocks offer an additional source of protein, sodium, iron, and zinc.
These bones are often discarded by restaurants because they take longer to prepare compared to other cuts of meat.
Ham hocks can be purchased either precooked or raw online or through local farmers markets.
Depending on the type of mulligan stew you enjoy, some variations may call for herbs, peppers, hot sauce, or even ketchup.
Feel free to experiment with whatever ingredients sound good to you!
What Is The History Of Mulligan Stew?
The origin of mulligan stew remains somewhat unclear, as there have been several different versions of the dish over time.
It was first recorded in 1839 by an Irishman named John Mulligan who served it at his pub on the corner of North Main Street and Market Place in Dublin, Ireland.
In this version, the potato soup is thickened with flour instead of cream or milk, and the addition of bacon makes up the meat component of the meal.
Another account states that the name “mulligan” comes from the Gaelic word mollagan meaning “to mix”.
So while the stew may not have originated in Ireland, it certainly has roots there!
Some say that the dish started out being called simply’stew’ but that it took on its current name after someone mixed together leftover bones, fat, and other bits of meat that were no longer fit for consumption from previous meals.
Others claim that the name came about because people would toss any leftovers into a pot and call it “mulligan stew.” Or maybe they just liked the sound of the name!
Whatever the case may be, mulligan stew is now enjoyed throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Wales, South Africa, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia, Mexico, Japan, India and many more countries worldwide.
As you can see, mulligan stew has become one of those dishes that everyone loves to make during the holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
And if you’re looking for some new recipes to try this year, we’ve got plenty of them here.
Steps to preparing mulligan stew
- Cook your potatoes until tender (about 15 minutes). Remove the skins before adding to the stew.
- Add 1 onion, 1 carrot, and 2 bay leaves to the pan. Cook for another 5 minutes then add the celery, peas, green beans, parsley, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika. Stir well.
- Pour in enough water to cover the vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a strainer lined with a clean kitchen towel. Discard the solids.
- Return the liquid to the pan and stir in the sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the meat and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
- Serve garnished with chopped scallions.
How Did The Recipe For Mulligan Stew Come To Be?
The origins of this dish can be traced back to the 17th century in England, where it was originally called mulligatawny soup.
However, by the 1820s, the name had changed to Mulligavie (it’s unclear why), and then finally to Mulligan Stew.
This dish has been passed down through generations since its creation.
The original version consisted of mutton or lamb that was cooked with onions, carrots, potatoes, turnips, and cabbages.
However, over time, the ingredients have evolved to include more exotic spices like curry powder, coriander seed, bay leaves, and thyme.
In addition to these modern additions, mulligan stew also includes chicken, turkey, or even seafood.
Today, you might find it served on Christmas Day at your local church supper as part of an elaborate meal.
If you’re interested in learning how to make mulligan stew, keep reading below!
There are many different types of mulligan stew recipes out there.
You will need to adjust them depending on what type of meat you use.
For instance, if you choose to serve mulligan stew with lobster, you will need to add extra butter to the gravy.
You should also consider adding other seasonings such as fresh herbs like parsley and basil.
These additional flavors enhance the taste of the stew without overpowering it.
Step-by-step instructions for mulligan stew
- Put all of the ingredients into a large pot, except for salt and pepper.
Then bring everything up to medium heat until simmering.
2. Add 1/4 cup of water once the liquid starts boiling.
Continue to cook for about 20 minutes while stirring occasionally.
3. After approximately 15 minutes, start testing the flavor of the stew with one bite.
Once you feel satisfied with the taste after sampling several bites, remove the lid from the pan and stir again.
If needed, continue cooking for another 5 minutes before serving.
4. When ready to eat, ladle the stew onto plates and garnish each bowl with freshly chopped parsley.
What Are Some Variations Of Mulligan Stew?
The original mulligan stew was created by Irish immigrants in New York City’s Five Points neighborhood as they sought shelter from winter storms.
The name comes from an 18th century game called Mulligatawny that involved throwing a bag or pouch into the air, catching it on the ground, and then trying to dig out all the pebbles.
It became known as “the poor man’s casserole” because it could feed many people at one time using leftovers from other meals.
Today, you can find mulligan stew recipes online but there are also regional variants such as the one below which came from my friend who lived in Savannah and grew up eating this dish.
There are different ways to make mulligan stew depending on how much money you have available.
If you plan ahead and buy your ingredients beforehand, you can make mulligan stew in less than 30 minutes.
Here are two options if you don’t want to spend too much time preparing dinner (or you just prefer to go old school).
Option 1 – Instant Soup Recipe
You will need:
- 1 onion
- 4 carrots
- 6 potatoes
- 8 cups water
- 2 cans condensed tomato soup
- Salt & pepper
Step 1: Chop onions into small pieces.
Peel carrots and chop them into bite-sized pieces.
Dice potatoes and add to pot along with salt and pepper.
Bring vegetable mixture to a boil over medium heat.
Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes.
Add 2 cans of condensed tomato soup during last 5 minutes of cooking process.
Step 2: Remove from heat and serve hot! You may garnish with parsley, chives, or scallions.
Option 2 – Slow Cooker Recipe
This version takes about 6 hours to cook so it’s more like a traditional meal.
But, the beauty of slow cooker mulligan stew is that you can start working on it before you leave work and finish while you’re relaxing after work.
I recommend doubling the amount of vegetables listed in the recipe below since they tend to shrink when cooked slowly.
Also, consider adding any additional meat dishes you might be having for dinner that day.
That way, you’ll have extra sauce to use later.
What Are Some Tips For Making Mulligan Stew?
There are many different versions of this classic dish, but the main ingredients remain the same: onions, carrots, potatoes, and meat.
The meat can be any type of protein, including chicken, pork, lamb, or even fish.
Some recipes call for adding other vegetables like turnips and parsnips to the mix as well.
In general, mulligan stew has been traditionally served in Ireland on St.
Patrick’s Day, but it also makes an excellent meal all year round.
If you want to make your own version of mulligan stew, here are some tips that will help get you started:
1. Choose your meats wisely
You don’t have to stick with traditional Irish fare when choosing your proteins.
If you prefer not to use meat, try using venison instead.
Venison is very lean, so you won’t need much oil or fat to cook it.
You could also choose to add seafood such as shrimp, scallops, or mussels into the pot while cooking the rest of your stew.
2. Buy more than one kind of vegetable
The stew calls for two kinds of root vegetables.
However, if you only have one type of potato, you may still be able to create a tasty meal by mixing these two types together.
For example, cut up half of your russets (like Idaho) and sauté them in butter until they start turning golden brown.
Then place them back into the pan and continue cooking over medium heat until soft.
Add another half cup of water, cover the pan, and let simmer until tender.
This would then become the “potatoes” part of your stew, and you would complete the process by adding in the remaining ingredients.
Or, you could just buy two varieties of root veggies and combine them in equal amounts.
Either way, having multiple options increases the chances that something from each category will work out perfectly!
3. Use fresh herbs
It goes without saying that you should always use fresh spices.
But what about those dried ones? They aren’t completely useless, though — there are certain combinations that pair really well together.
One great combination is Italian seasoning and thyme.
Thyme is known for its earthy flavor, which pairs wonderfully with basil, oregano, garlic, onion powder, and red pepper flakes.
All of these flavors come together beautifully to bring out the best qualities of both herbs.
4. Measure carefully
When you first start creating your stew, it might seem tempting to eyeball everything.
Don’t risk ruining your delicious creation because you didn’t measure properly! Instead, take a minute to read through our guide to measuring dry goods before beginning a new project.
We recommend following these guidelines exactly.
5. Go slow
Don’t rush things.
When you’re working with raw meats, you must ensure that they are cooked thoroughly.
Otherwise, you run the risk of food poisoning due to bacteria growth.
How Do You Serve Mulligan Stew?
You can make mulligan stew in many different ways, but the most common way to eat it is on top of mashed potatoes.
If you’re worried about how long it takes to cook, there are other options as well! You can also use this dish as an ingredient in soups or casseroles, like chicken pot pie or shepherd’s pie.
Mulligan stew is known to be one of those dishes that people either love or hate because of its flavor profile.
So what exactly makes a good mulligan stew? Read below to find out!
Tips for Making Great Mulligan Stew
There are plenty of things you can do to improve your chances of having a delicious mulligan stew.
Here are five key strategies:
1. Start With Quality Ingredients
The first thing you should always look at when buying ingredients is freshness.
If you choose canned or frozen items instead of fresh ones, they will taste different.
When purchasing meat, make sure to select cuts from the chuck or round roast section of the cow.
These cuts contain a lot more fat than their lean counterparts, which means they have better flavor.
2. Use Fresh Vegetables
While you may not be able to control every aspect of growing your own food, you can still try to incorporate as much local produce into your meals as possible.
For example, if you live near farms, ask them for fresh veggies before grocery shopping so you don’t need to buy anything that has traveled too far.
3. Make Sure Your Cooking Equipment Is Clean
It doesn’t matter how great your cooking skills are if you aren’t using clean pots and pans.
To keep your kitchen looking nice and tidy, wipe down any surfaces after each meal.
Keep all utensils sharpened and store knives away from where kids play.
4. Prepare Everything Ahead Of Time
As soon as you get home from work, start preparing everything you plan to put in your stew.
Once the main course is done, begin prepping the sides.
This will allow you to spend less time in the kitchen and save yourself stress later on.
5. Don’t Overcook Anything
When you prepare mulligan stew, it’s important to avoid overcooking any of the foods in your dish.
Not only does overcooked food lose its texture and taste, it can even damage your digestive system.
Always check the temperature of meats and vegetables so you know when to remove them from the heat source.
What Goes Well With Mulligan Stew?
The best accompaniment to your bowl of mulligan stew would be a crusty loaf of bread, some fresh fruit salad or homemade pickles.
If you’re feeling adventurous, pair it up with something spicy like chili con carne or enchiladas.
If you want to make this meal even healthier, consider serving it over rice or quinoa instead of noodles.
You can also add an extra layer of flavor by adding in a pinch of cumin or paprika.
You can also try making this recipe into a soup by substituting the beef broth for vegetable stock and using water as needed.
We have included a few links below that will help guide you through the process of cooking mulligan stew.
The first link gives step-by-step instructions on how to cook mulligan stew from scratch.
This video shows you how to prep all of the ingredients and then prepare the mulligan stew itself.
Another useful resource includes a list of recipes that use mulligan stew in place of potatoes.
Finally, if you are interested in learning more about mulligan stew’s history, we recommend reading “A History of Mulligan Stew” by author Bill Buford.
He takes us back to 18th century Ireland where mulligan stew was born out of necessity.
Now let’s get started!
- Step 1: Cook the onions until tender (about 10 minutes)
- Step 2: Add the carrots, celery, green beans and potatoes
- Step 3: Pour in the beef broth and stir well
- Step 4: Bring everything to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes
- Step 5: Season with salt and pepper, garnish with parsley leaves and serve immediately
- ⅓ cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 lb beef stew meat
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 cups low sodium beef broth
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
- 2 medium gold potatoes cubed
- 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
- turn the oven on to 350 degrees.
- In a big zippered bag, add the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, and freshly ground black pepper. Shake the meat for the beef stew to coat. In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Take out the steak with tongs and add it to the pan. Keep any flour mixture that is still in the bag. Beef should be thoroughly browned before being transferred to a platter.
- Over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the Dutch oven. Cook for 3–4 minutes after adding the chopped onion. 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining flour should be sifted in and cooked for 2 minutes while constantly stirring. Stir continually while cooking for 30 seconds after adding the oregano, basil, and marjoram.
- Add the beef broth and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring often. Replacing the browned beef in the pan. For one hour, bake the covered dish.
- Add potatoes, corn, carrots, peas and green beans to the pot. Place back in the oven and cook for an additional 30 minutes or until stew and vegetables are tender.