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Ashiri

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Um... a casserole is baked; a stew is simmered.

ETA: And yes, you can simmer things in the oven. What you can't do is bake on the range top without a Dutch oven.
There appears to be a bit of the usual British/American differences in cooking arising here.
 
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Distinguishing between a stew and a casserole. I'm sure there is a difference but I'm not sure what.
Consider it a similar "problem" to defining gender... (STAY WITH ME!)

There are some stews and casseroles which fit in with the standard, true binary opposite evaluation of when a stew is obviously a stew, and a casserole is obviously a casserole. And then there's everything in-between. Which is where we get to watch the J.K Rowlings and Adam Carollas of the world go bonkers.

Enjoy!
 

Jopsy Pendragon

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Every casserole I've encountered held its form when you scooped out a chunk. A small amount may seep but it generally holds its shape. It's 'fork & plate' food.

Stew is amorphous. It'll deform and spread. It's 'bowl' food with either spoon or fork. If plated, would need a bed of rice to keep it from flowing off the plate.
 

Innula Zenovka

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There appears to be a bit of the usual British/American differences in cooking arising here.
No, I'm with WolfEyes on this one. A heavy dutch oven or casserole heats up evenly, because the base and sides are so thick, that the contents cook slowly and evenly from all sides rather than from just the base.
 

Ashiri

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No, I'm with WolfEyes on this one. A heavy dutch oven or casserole heats up evenly, because the base and sides are so thick, that the contents cook slowly and evenly from all sides rather than from just the base.
Do you want to tell my mum she's been cooking wrong?
I'd say that there is also a matter of where one comes from as to whether something is a casserole or a stew.
 
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Dakota Tebaldi

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Joking aside, I think a lot of these things are very broad categories and there aren't clearly defined lines, so anyone who tries to nail the definition down too narrowly is gonna be wrong in everyone else's eyes.

Like, there's soups that are definitely soups, and stews that are definitely stews, but there's also things that are kind of in-between and can probably be whichever one you feel like calling it?

Same thing for casseroles - like, you make potatoes au gratin in the oven, in a casserole dish, in the exact same way you make a casserole, and it comes out of the oven looking just like and having the same consistency as some casseroles, but I've never heard anybody call potatoes au gratin a casserole.
 
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WolfEyes

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Joking aside, I think a lot of these things are very broad categories and there aren't clearly defined lines, so anyone who tries to nail the definition down too narrowly is gonna be wrong in everyone else's eyes.

Like, there's soups that are definitely soups, and stews that are definitely stews, but there's also things that are kind of in-between and can probably be whichever one you feel like calling it?

Same thing for casseroles - like, you make potatoes au gratin in the oven, in a casserole dish, in the exact same way you make a casserole, and it comes out of the oven looking just like and having the same consistency as some casseroles, but I've never heard anybody call potatoes au gratin a casserole.

Just for grins n giggles.

Is gratin a casserole?


Yes, there actually IS a difference between a casserole and a gratin. Both are baked in the oven, but a gratin is a special form of a casserole. ... In most cases, a gratin is also served as a side dish, not a main, and it has a signature crust that has to be, well, gratinated.
 
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Isabeau

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The word casserole is used to describe the pot/pan in French, but in English, I’ve only heard it used to describe the dish, as in tuna casserole. Although both the words stew and casserole come from French (via Greek and Latin?), casserole sounds more French so I’m betting it’s one of the reasons why he thinks it’s less manly. 😁
 

danielravennest

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Joking aside, I think a lot of these things are very broad categories and there aren't clearly defined lines, so anyone who tries to nail the definition down too narrowly is gonna be wrong in everyone else's eyes.
I view recipes as points in multi-dimensional "ingredient space", where each axis is how much of a given ingredient you use. We assign names to regions of this ingredient space, but not everyone uses the same names or regions. I often deviate from a printed recipe, either because I lack an ingredient, wanted to try something different, or like the taste better.

If you want less physics, and more chemistry, I know enough about each ingredient to know how much to use and how to cook it, that I can freehand a meal. A formula is something like "first brown the meat, then add chopped vegetables, then add some water, sauce ingredients, and spices, then finish cooking together". Which meat, veggies, and sauce can all vary each time.
 

Soen Eber

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If a 70 year old grandma in North Dakota or outstate Minnesota can make it topped with tater tots and stuffed with a frozen cheesy Pillsbury carrot-brocoli-cauliflower mix it's a casserole.
If she can add the frozen vegetable mix but then says "Well, that's different" when asked about tater tots then it is a stew.
If she says "let me think about that one" and shuffles through her newspaper recipe collection then it is pie or cake.

There, I've solved it. Next question?
 
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bubblesort

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I had a very masculine childhood, by the standards of the tweet in the OP. At the time, I didn't realize it, but my boy scout troop was extreme about camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, canoeing, trail maintenance, and all that stuff. I grew up along the Appalacian trail, so people around here take outdoorsmanship pretty seriously. I spent most weekends in the woods. Even in the dead of winter, we would go out at least 2 or 3 weekends a month, regardless of weather. I've hiked and camped in blizzards and storms, and learned skills they don't teach people any more, like how to read a paper map and build a fire. I've had stew with goat and venison, and all that.

IMHO, the best camping delicacy is actually a casserole. You pack in a bag of pasta, a few cans of tuna, and a block of cheese. You cube the cheese, mix it all in a dutch oven with some water, and let it cook. You don't need any seasoning or fancy techniques, and there's nothing better on a cold winter night around a camp fire. Stew can be good, but it's not as good as a simple dutch oven tuna casserole.