New Here? Read The Story behind the Box

Friday, January 13, 2012

winter stew

My vegetables are telling me it's winter. They are coming up from underground, where the cold temperatures are helping them produce sugars, which make them nice and sweet and tasty.

The carrots I got this week were, by far, the very best carrots I have ever eaten in my life.

This week I got potatoes, rutabagas, beets, and carrots from under the ground. I also got a lot of other stuff, but for now let's talk about these bottom dwellers.

These root veggies just beg to be cooked slowly for a long time. They want to be roasted or stewed, releasing heat and aroma into the house for hours. It is just the thing you want for a long, cold, winter day,

Despite the fact that it has been rather warm and sunny here in southern Cali, I went ahead and made a stew.

It seems like the new trend (and by "new trend" I mean "back to the good old days") is to not use a recipe.

I have been reading quite a few cookbooks lately that actually provide very few recipes. They are centered on teaching the reader how to cook, rather than just giving measurements and instructions for one particular dish.

So, I decided to go ahead and give it a shot. After reading the chapter called "Stewing, Braising and Steaming" in the book Kitchen on Fire, I felt equipped curious to test their instructions, and to take my winter veggies and turn them into a stew. 

Plus, I have a whole bunch of chicken stock just begging to be used.

First, I went to the store to buy some stew meat. Although stew meat is usually the toughest (which is fine if you are going to stew it for a long time), and therefore the cheapest meat, I found that my market had tri-tip on sale for even cheaper than the stew meat, so I bought that.

I cut my pound of beef up into bite-sized chunks and browned it in a little bit of olive oil.

Once it was browned, I cut up my veggies and added them. I used, from this week's Abundant Harvest Box, three potatoes (peeled), two rutabagas (peeled), four carrots, one large leek, and one onion, all cut into bite-sized chunks.

I cooked this all on high for about 10 minutes, so everything could get a teeny bit browned and tasty. Then I added 3 cups of chicken stock and a small handful of fresh rosemary. Just before it started to boil, I reduced the heat and covered it, and let it simmer for about and hour and a half.

It turned out nice and sweet and delicious!