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What Is Cream Stew?

By Angie Bates
Updated May 17, 2024
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Also called kurimu shitu, cream stew is a type of popular Japanese stew made with meat, vegetables, and a creamy liquid base. A yōshoku dish, cream stew is the Japanese version of traditional Western cream soups. Usually made with boxed blocks of sauce, called roux, cream stew is often simple to make and is a frequent dining choice in many Japanese households. Unlike most cream soups, cream stew contains cream cheese.

Kurimu shitu is usually made with roux. Roux is often used in other Japanese dishes, such as curries, and consists of blocks of pressed, hardened ingredients that melt into a creamy sauce when heated. Also labeled as cream stew sauce mix, roux used in cream stew usually contains milk powder, cream cheese, and cream as well as flour, sugar, and oils. Although roux can usually be found easily in Japanese grocery stores, it is normally difficult to find in other areas of the world. Cream stew can be made without roux, however.

In addition to cream sauce, this stew usually contains onions, potatoes, and carrots. Other vegetables, such as bell peppers, may also be added. Chicken is usually included as well, but beef, pork, or seafood may be substituted. Often, the meat is seasoned with salt and pepper.

The meat is first sauteed in oil. If beef is used, it should be just browned. Then, the vegetables are sauteed either with the meat or shortly afterward. When the vegetables begin to soften, water is added and the mixture is boiled. After boiling, the roux is included and allowed to melt.

If roux is not used, milk, flour, and butter, along with chicken consommé cubes and cream cheese, are used to create a fresh sauce. To make cream stew with a fresh sauce, the meat and onions are first sauteed, but the other vegetables are left out. Then, the water is added and, once the mixture simmers, the chicken cubes are placed in the stew. After the cubes have dissolved, the remaining vegetables are included.

The sauce is made separately while the stew simmers. To make the sauce, the butter is first melted, then the flour is stirred in. Once the butter mixture begins to bubble, milk is added and whisked or stirred until the liquid thickens. The sauce is then removed from the heat and cream cheese, along with some of the stew broth, is included. When the sauce is complete, it is stirred into the stew.

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