Mulligan Stew


As a struggling new homeowner and wife, I was introduced to Mulligan stew in the 80s.  Money was always tight, and I remember existing on a diet of Top Ramen, bologna sandwiches and tuna casserole.  At that time, bologna was affordable.

One evening, my husband confessed that he was sick of my cooking.  Most of all, he hated my tuna casserole.

To my surprised, he had gone grocery shopping.  Next to the stove, he had a package of stew meat, a head of cabbage, carrots, and celery.  It was the same ingredients you’d use for a simple stew.

He called his creation “Mulligan’s Stew.”

Over the years, I learned that Mulligan stew is a delicious, inexpensive meal that takes more time than effort.  Check your refrigerator and pantry.  You probably have all the ingredients needed to make this stew.  If you want a vegetarian version of Mulligan stew, you can leave out the meat and beef stock.

About a decade later, I divorced my first husband, but kept his Mulligan stew recipe.  This is a recipe that gets better with time because you can always experiment.  You can’t get tired of it.  After you’ve made this stew a few times, you won’t need to measure the ingredients.  You’ll just know what works.

Mulligan stew is best when cooked on a cold winter day.  If I’m waiting on the rain to come pouring down, I like keeping the stew on a low simmer until dinnertime so that the aroma can fill our home.  I usually serve it with a generous slice of sourdough bread.

Mulligan’s Stew


1 lb. stew meat

1 cup sliced carrots (or baby carrots)

3-4 ribs celery, cut into pieces

1 onion, chopped

3 potatoes, cut into quarters

1 small head cabbage, cut into quarters

1 bunch kale, chopped

1 tsp. each:  garlic salt, pepper, minced garlic, and Italian seasoning

1 cup beef stock

2 cups red wine

oil or butter




  1. Cut stew meat into small pieces (smaller than bite-size).  Coat meat with seasonings and flour.ImageImage
  2. In a stock pot, brown the stew meat in butter or oil.
  3. Add wine.  Keep scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen bits.
  4. Add vegetables.  Over medium heat, stir until they partially soften.Image
  5. Cover meat and vegetables with approximately 8 cups of water.  Bring to boil.
  6. Loosely cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours.Image
  7. Add cabbage and kale.  Cover with 4 cups water.  Bring to boil.
  8. Cover pot and simmer until cabbage and kale soften (about half an hour).  Stir occasionally.Image
  9. Serve.
  10. Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers.


  1. ChgoJohn · November 22, 2013

    This is definitely the start of stew season around here and I love it. I’ve not made a stew with kale nor cabbage in it but both sound like great additions! Talk about a one pot meal!

    • Arlene Poma · November 22, 2013

      John, I just discovered kale this year. I love its looks, taste and texture, so I use it in a lot of my cooking. Mulligan stew is so easy to make. It can also help you clear your refrigerator and pantry because you can pick and choose your ingredients. Most of the time, you won’t need to shop.

  2. Raymund · November 25, 2013

    This looks hearty delicious! want to try this when weather gets colder here in NZ

    • Arlene Poma · November 25, 2013

      Thank you, Raymund! It’s so easy to make. Unfortunately, I had to marry the guy in order to get the recipe! Never again! LOL!

  3. marlenebertrand · January 12, 2015

    I don’t know how I missed this delicious recipe when it was originally published. I have heard of Mulligan Stew, but never ventured to see what it was. Now that I know, I think I will try making it. It’s hearty, pretty, and perfect for a cold winter day.

  4. Arlene Poma · January 13, 2015

    Marlene, I don’t even remember writing this at all because I haven’t done anything to my blog in months!!! My ex taught me how to make Mulligan Stew when we first moved in together. Yeah, I thought he was the REAL DEAL back in ’86, but he wasn’t. I must say that we were both 28. And that I truly loved him when he only made $5 per hour at Lumberjack. Now, in my wisdom, I don’t regret meeting him. The anger and sadness I felt after I dumped him is gone. So since you were kind enough to leave me a comment (as usual–thank God someone does read my stuff as faithfully as you!!!), I now have something to make Mister Jack tonight. I’ve been taking it easy since Christmas because I think I’ve come down with a cold. Or is it allergies??? Hmmmmph!!! Anyway, life goes on. Laundry, housework–ICK. The sun is shining. Hopefully, it’s a little warm out so that I can pluck all the stupid little seedlings that will later become stupid little trees if I don’t get out there soon. Hope everything is going well for you. I pretty much like the peace and quiet without a whole lotta tech. Maybe I’ll be able to become a Stepford Wife–NOT!!! Daddy didn’t raise a housewife and a doormat. And I thank him each day because I know he is at peace. Yackatyasoon!!! There aren’t enough hours in a day to work the land, but my 1/4 acre of urban delight is sometimes way to much for me. LOL!!! Take care, my dear BOFF-O . . .

    Oh, forget it!!! Mister Jack cannot have kale because it irritates his joints. As in–gouty, gout, gout. Lucky for him, he doesn’t have it as bad as I did. Also, I can’t get into his wine because he has the good stuff from Sonoma County. I don’t think he’d miss a bottle, but I’m not gonna risk it. Wine is wine to me. I know, when cooking, you use what you’d drink, but he told me to get the cheap stuff because his collection is special. Excuse me??? All I know is that all those bottles are sitting neatly on this huge rack in my kitchen. I doubt very much if he’d miss a bottle. Oh, well. Next time I’m out and about, I’ll find a bottle of cheapness. Since I don’t drink, it’s all about evaporation. Whine, whine, whine. LOL!!!

  5. marlenebertrand · January 13, 2015

    Speaking of wine, when my husband and I went to Napa, we were exposed to some very fine wine. It is much more enjoyable and I find that I drink less of it when it is the good stuff. I like this recipe for Mulligan Stew. I have everything except the cabbage. Normally, I always have cabbage, but not today. Oh well. I still want to make a stew of some type. Thanks for the recipe. Have an enjoyable dinner.

    • Arlene Poma · January 13, 2015

      I’m with you, GIRLFRIEND!!! If I leave my little haven in the North Sac ‘hood, all I need to do is drive in a circle. Behold!!! The Fire Station, the Post Office, schools, community services (potential volunteer opportunities galore), Safeway, Goodwill, Bel Air, 99-Cent Store, Big Lots, Grocery Outlet, Big Lots, Baskin & Robbins (uh, for the BAAAAD TIMES–LMAO!!!), Sally’s, et al. Yep. Give credit where credit is due. But when I don’t have the money, HONEY, I just stay home and get on with my BAAAAAD SELF. I ain’t no CONSUMER no mo’. Tain’t happening because Mr. Jackster works a lotta overtime. I don’t tap into my pension unless I have to. All I do is make with the goo-goo eyes, and that wallet of his OPENS wide, wide, wide. Practice, practice, practice makes perfect, Girl. I had an open door policy to Daddy’s wallet since I was a wee tyke in a playpen. All dressed up by Mommy and ready to roll. As the firstborn child of three, I milked it royally. My father, until I moved out at 28 (to marry my EX–the handsome, blue-eyed devil–er–wrong choice of words, but who cares???) was a very easy MARK. And so were his friends–my uncles. Now, as a Stepford Wife in Permanent Training Status, I only cook with what I have at home. I don’t even follow recipes. Mister Jack is not a picky eater (like the EX). And he will take leftover to work (again, unlike the EX, who thought it was beneath his silly little self to eat at home). He ate at 7-11, fast food joints and the best restaurants. That is why he gladly because THE EX about four days before 9/11 in Modesto. Hallelujah!!!

      Oh. I hope YOU and DB had a very enjoyable dinner. I ended up making a “Stir Fry for One” last night because Mister Jack drove me to an appointment right after we got off work. We got home around seven. He usually crashes at eight p.m. because he gets up at four a.m. to drive through this Tule fog (rain, sleet, no snow)..

      I am feeling much, much, better. I am not sick. What I was experiencing was a mild Pity Party. I rarely suffer from self-pity. But hey!!! I’m not bulletproof. All I wanna do these days is write and take photographs. Exercise outdoors (gardening and long, long walks). When I want to leave home, I do make it count. I release the hounds in me and pounce on the first poor soul. I’m not too selective. I just start yakking away about anything and everything.

      As you know, Marlene, it’s all about retirement right now. Don’t wanna, don’t have to. I don’t need that bumper sticker, hat or T-shirt because it has been etched in my mind since February 2002.

      Anyway, thank you for your comments. And that goes for the ones in the future. I always love, love, love hearing from you.

      Will chit chat soon!!! Need to take my meds and get on with cleaning this 960-square-footer. My pleasure. I find all these things that take me down Memory Lane. Then I get to toss, give away, donate or keep.

      I am just lovin’ this freedom from the past as I give stuff away. I have plans for our home. I want it streamline so that we can leave without worrying about anything. Or having people over without throwing things in a bag and throwing this bag (our home is a 10-bagger) in a closet, room or the garage whenever we are expecting company.

      Ah, Marlene. As my sister-in-law would say, “TMI, Arlene!!! Quit already!!!”

      As you know, I have not taken her advice in some 20 years. Since when did I ever listen to anyone who happens to reside on Earth???

      Take care!!!

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