Ancient Roman Stew - A Recipe
February 28, 2012 | ~3 mins read time.
I came across this recipe for Ancient Roman stew. I had to try it. I love all things ancient and Roman, especially when it might have been something the Legions did or ate.

I’ve adapted the recipe somewhat. I cut half the celery, added carrots, and removed the diced tomatoes. I’ve got an allergy. There are still tomatoes, just ones I can tolerate [plain, organic tomato puree].

Edit, September 5, 2014 – I’ve since made this several times without the tomatoes, because I realized tomatoes didn’t exist in Europe when it was first made. I prefer it without the tomatoes, but that’s because I prefer to not have to risk vomiting.

The important things to remember when cooking this are that the spices should stay the same (can be adjusted for preference), beef is best in it, and potatoes, turnips, and other root vegetables can be used. You are also going to need a blender if you want to do it the way I did it and a crock pot/slow cooker for this recipe that has at least two settings- low and high. I also recommend, if you can get them, using as many organic ingredients as possible.


  • 2 1/2 lb Beef Stew Meat, 1 in. cubes (regular pkgs of stew meat in the store should work fine)
  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Butter (not interchangeable with margarine or other butter substitutes in this case)
  • 4 Cloves Garlic (minced or crushed) or 2 tsp. Pre-Minced Garlic
  • 1 cup Chopped Celery (approx. 2 medium celery stalks)
  • 1 1/2 cups Chopped Carrot (approx. 3 medium carrots)
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. Allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
  • [Optional] 1 can (14.5 oz) Diced Tomato [No sugar added type, preferably organic, DO NOT DRAIN]
  • 1/2 cup Dry Red Wine
  • Extra salt for cooking the stew meat - keep the grinder or shaker handy. You’ll need about a teaspoon.


Turn on your crock pot to high heat before beginning to ensure it’s warm when the beef is done. This assumes your crock pot has Off, Keep Warm, Low, and High settings. If yours has Off, Low, Medium, and High, you should probably replace any mention of Low setting below with Medium.

  1. Melt butter and olive oil in a skillet until mixed and simmering over medium heat.
  2. Add beef and garlic to skillet and stir until beef is well coated.
  3. Distribute extra salt over top the beef.

    Steps 4, 5, and 6 should be done while the stew meat is cooking in skillet.

  4. Measure spices (salt, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, allspice, and nutmeg) into a small bowl and stir lightly until combine evenly. Set aside.
  5. [If using tomato: Puree can of diced tomatoes. Set aside. Making a puree is optional. If you like or can eat diced tomatoes as is, then merely open the can and set it aside.]
  6. Chop up celery and carrots. Set aside.
  7. At this point, the beef should be lightly seared but not be crispy. When ready, transfer to crock pot with all cooking juices and fat.
  8. Add carrots and celery; combine with beef until evenly mixed.
  9. Evenly distribute spices atop the beef and veg. Then stir all three until well mixed.
  10. [If using tomato puree or undrained diced tomatoes: stir in until the beef and veg are coated.]
  11. Slowly pour wine over everything with even distribution. Do not stir.
  12. Cover and slow cook on high for 2-3 hours.
  13. Uncover, stir, reduce heat to low. Continue cooking for another 2-3 hours. Your cooking time should be 4-6 hours total.
  14. Serve in bowls with crusty buns or stale bread. (Stale bread is more “authentic” if you want a “soldier’s meal”.)