Thursday, April 1, 2010

Winter Stew

Hot, thick hearty, and sooooo yummy on a cold day!  The term "winter" does not refer to the season, but to the kinds of vegetables you put into it -- in this case:  cabbage, onions, garlic, peri-peri peppers (aka small red chilis -- whole, so you can see and remove them before they get stuck between your teeth!), celery, carrots, rutabaga, potatoes, winter squash, and broccoli.

Put a dry heavy-bottomed cauldron on stove, heating up to medium.  While it's getting hot, halve lengthwise and then slice thinly crosswise two cored quarters of a cabbage.  When the pot is up to temperature,  cover the bottom with olive oil, and then immediately dump in all the shredded cabbage.  Stir to coat with oil, and then continue chopping veggies and adding them in whatever order you like, stirring each time you add to the pot.  I use squash because it melts into nothingness and thickens the broth without adding flour or other thickening agent -- something I found out completely by serendipitous accident!.  And it has very little inherent flavor of its own.  And it's extremely high in water soluble fiber.  And because I just plain like winter squash.

There are no measurements to this dish.  You use as much as you like of what you have.  Don't have something on the list?  Use something else.  Or forget about it entirely.  If you don't like rutabaga, don't put it in just because it's on my list -- make up your own list.  You can, ferinstance, use an entire cabbage instead of just half.  Or substitute kale.  Or spinach.  Or sui choy.  Or all.  Or whatever.

When you've got all the veggies chopped and added and stirred in and covered with oil and the accumulating liquor in the pot (the pot should be pretty close to full if you're doing this in a serious way), start adding cold water until the veggies are almost covered.  Put a lid on it, but leave it ajar, and let it come to a boil.  Stir occassionally until you deem it done, and enjoy with crusty bread, salad, whatever.

Yes, you can add meat to it.  Whatever meat you like.

Tonight, I'm serving this with slices of ham and a garden salad on the side and ciabata to soak up the broth. 

And tomorrow, when the level in the pot has gone down a bit, I will add some drained and rinsed red kidney beans and some frozen kernel corn, both for color and for complete protein, and meat will not be necessary.  Which is good, because what's left on the bone will be in another pot being turned into a broth for split pea or lentil soup!

No comments: