Allspice in beef stew? GROSS!

arkansas_girlOctober 24, 2012

Do you all put allspice in your beef stew. For all my life I have just made stew without using any recipe but I always made a tomato base stew. I wanted to make a gravy based stew so I used a recipe from my "new" Fannie Farmer cookbook which called for allspice. I thought that well maybe I was missing out on something but the ingredient seemed odd for a beef stew but I used it anyway...GROSS! Darn near ruined the whole pot of stew but it was tasty if you could overlook the smell of the allspice. It only called for a small amount so was taken aback by how potent it smelled with just a 1/4 tsp for a whole big pot of stew. So why put an ingredient like allspice in a savory dish like does NOT add! GAH! :( I also noticed the allspice in pretty much every beef stew recipe I found in the web.

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I've never seen that in a recipe for stew, ever. I have seen it in chicken cacciatore, which is weird, too.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 4:37PM
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Yeah well I was finding it in all the recipes I was looking at but now I'm finding other recipes without...ugh! I wish I had gone with my gut and left it out. Anyway, don't put it in there unless you happen to just LOVE allspice for some weird reason! HA! Oh and learn....

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 4:53PM
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My mother always put whole allspice in chicken soup. To this day, if I want to have a "Mom food association moment", I'll make chicken soup and add allspice. Allspice is often one of the spices in a Jerk Seasoning mixture. -Grainlady

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 4:55PM
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I use allspice in some Mexican mole sauces. I believe Ann T.'s tourtiere recipe contains allspice. Here's some info from Wiki...

"Allspice is one of the most important ingredients of Caribbean cuisine. It is used in Caribbean jerk seasoning (the wood is used to smoke jerk in Jamaica, although the spice is a good substitute), in moles, and in pickling; it is also an ingredient in commercial sausage preparations and curry powders. Allspice is also indispensable in Middle Eastern cuisine, particularly in the Levant, where it is used to flavour a variety of stews and meat dishes. In Palestinian cuisine, for example, many main dishes call for allspice as the sole spice added for flavouring. In America, it is used mostly in desserts, but it is also responsible for giving Cincinnati-style chili its distinctive aroma and flavour. Allspice is commonly used in Great Britain, and appears in many dishes, including cakes. Even in many countries where allspice is not very popular in the household, as in Germany, it is used in large amounts by commercial sausage makers. It is a main flavour used in barbecue sauces.[citation needed] In the West Indies, an allspice liqueur called "pimento dram" is produced, and a sweet liqueur called mirto is made in Sardinia."


Here is a link that might be useful: Wike, Allspice

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 5:03PM
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I have used it in Canadian Pork Pie, but I knocked the amount down after I made it the first time. Allspice can overwhelm very easily, I also feel the same way about cilantro.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 5:26PM
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I use whole allspice in just about every braised or stewed dish I make. I guess it's the result of my Greek background. My mother always did, so I guess I picked it up from her. I put about 3-5 whole berries in a tea ball along with 10-12 whole black peppercorns and dump it into whatever I'm cooking. Right now I'm cooking beans with my recently home-smoked pork. The tea ball is floating in the cooking liquid.

I actually think something is missing if I leave out the allspice. I use it in chicken, beef, pork, & turkey dishes -- with or without a tomato based sauce. Of course, allspice doesn't lend itself to certain cuisines. But I'd be lost without it, especially when it comes to Thanksgiving turkey. I stick whole berries in the cavity along with whole peppercorns.

However, I rarely use the powdered stuff. I think it's probably easy to overdo the powdered version.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 5:42PM
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I have no problem omitting spices that I think I will not like in a savory dish. Then I might try adding a few grains of the spice in one serving, but I would not risk ruining a whole pot with something that I know I don't like. There are a lot of Italian and Lebanese dishes that add nutmeg to them, and I really prefer the dishes without the nutmeg, but sometimes I will add in just a few grains. I think nutmeg ruins a spinach dish, but I can tolerate a small amount of it in ground lamb or kefta. The one cuisine that breaks the rules that really works for me is Indian, and I will use cinnamon and cardamom in savory dishes (in small amounts) and still appreciate the combinations of flavors, but these are extremely complex spice combinations. I do not like any cinnamon at all in Thai curry, and I always check ingredients before I buy pre-made Thai curry - otherwise I just make it myself. I do like ginger in savory dishes, but that is very different from cinnamon and allspice. I do not like cloves in ham either, BTW.

Mole is one of those Mexican dishes that I really dislike, and it is ubiquitous in Oaxaca (or used to be), and I would have the most difficult time finding a restaurant in Oaxaca that I would like. I used to spend quite a bit of time in Oaxaca, shopping and visiting ruins, and so when I would find a restaurant there that I liked, I would always go back to it. I can take mole is small doses if it is not too sweet, but it really does nothing for me. The last time I was in Oaxaca, there was a much better variety of restaurants - it reminded me a lot of Santa Fe.

I like to make my own BBQ sauce also and leave out cinnamon, allspice, or any other spice I do not like. Texas BBQ does not use those spices and relies on the chilies for most of the flavor.


    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 5:49PM
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Yeah Lars, that's probably my problem...I'm from TEXAS! HAHA! Mom never ever used allspice that I know of, I don't remember that flavor. For instance I hate Fennel seeds...gag...probably a Texas "thang".

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 6:25PM
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AKgirl, I don't care for allspice in stew either, or cinnamon in tomato sauces. To me those are "sweet" spices and seem out of place in savory dishes, but others may (and most likely do) feel differently.

So, in this case I agree, I would have left the allspice out of beef stew. I also do not make a stew with tomatoes, though.


    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 7:09PM
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I use allspice in meat balls and sometimes in beef stew.
I don't find it "gaa! I like the flavor.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 7:44PM
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Sometimes, I like to use some pickling spices (allspice, cloves, bay leaf, etc.) in a tea ball in stew. I don't use tomatoes in stew. I know that it sounds weird but got onto the trick after eating some stew that a friend had made that was delicious. She used some commercial blend pickling spice in it.

Also, I like a bit of allspice in marinara sauce. If you can taste it in the sauce, you've used too much.

Love Caribbean jerk but the couple of recipes that I've tried, the allspice has been too predominate. Love the Walkerswood brand of jerk and can't buy it locally so I've been trying to duplicate it and haven't come close. Think I'll just give up & order the big container of the rub.

And Italian sausage so I'm a big fan of fennel, too. It's one of my three big favorites...cilantro, tarragon & fennel.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 9:34PM
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Since my favorite foreign cuisine is Middle Eastern, I really like what many Americans identify as "baking spices" in savory dishes. Like some posters already mentioned, I'll add whole allspice, cloves, a piece of a cinnamon stick, etc. to a tea ball in some of my stews. I prefer the whole allspice to ground because I agree that just a small amount can overpower a dish.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 10:03PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I usually associate it with a sauerbraten type of flavor and don't mind it if I am looking for that type of dish.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 11:35PM
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I'm with Ruthanna on this one, I do enjoy a bit of cinnamon or allspice in most stews. I love lamb with cinnamon especially in Moussaka, and do put allspice in my beef stew.

That said, I don't like tomatoes in beef stew so it really is individual tastes.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 6:34AM
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I, too, identify allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc as "pie spices," and I don't want them in my meat dishes! I had a roommate once of Lebannese descent. She decided to attempt to make "authentic" cabbage rolls. I looked forward to those cabbage rolls all day, but could hardly eat them when she served dinner that night. GAK! Pie spice in the meat! If I run across a recipe with pie spice in it, that isn't a pie, I either skip the recipe or leave out the spice.

On the other hand, I had a chicken mole taco last week at a Mexican deli run by natives of Mexico. I thought it was delicious! DH had always poo-poo'd trying any mole dish because of the chocolate in it. He got my tacos by mistake and ate half of them with gusto before I realized the error and traded with him. Neither the chocolate nor the cinnamon were discernible flavors.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 8:39AM
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Well, at first I too rejected what I considred "sweet" spices (in my case cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger) in savory dishes. But they're only considered "sweet" because my mom only put them in sweet things, so that's why I had such a strong association. But since I love Greek, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Carribean, N. African etc. flavors, I tried some recipes with these spices and I must say they are some of my favorites. My go to chicken soup calls for a couple of cloves, but only a couple. Honestly I think cloves and allspice just give the meat a little "kick" similar to a dash of Tabasco or some cayenne. But that's just my taste. I don't like a lot of allspice or clove taste and in my savory dishes these spices certainly don't predominate. I love Cinncinati style chili, but I don't expect it to taste like the Southwestern version I usually make. For what it's worth, I love the vegetable version of fennel, and licorice sweets, but I can't abide by anise in a savory dish, which is the key ingredient in Chinese five spice powder. I have to do with "Four Spice Powder." Oddly I can tolerate fennel in Italian type dishes, but I don't like it in rye bread. Just my little taste quirks.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 8:50AM
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