18 November 2008

hearty vegetable stew

So I'm calling this a stew instead of a soup based on some of the guidelines I've acquired from wikipedia, but I'm not gonna act like it was an uncomplicated decision:
The distinctions between stew, soup, and casserole are subtle and not always easy to judge. The ingredients of a stew may be cut into larger pieces than a those of a soup and retain more of their individual flavours; a stew may have thicker liquid than a soup, and more liquid than a casserole; a stew is more likely to be eaten as a main course than as a starter, unlike soup; and a stew can be cooked on either the stove top (or range) or in the oven, while casseroles are almost always cooked in the oven, and soups are almost always cooked on the stovetop. There are exceptions; for example, an oyster stew is thin bodied, more like a soup.
But as you can see, a large part is up for debate. Anyways, on to the recipe.

  • 6 large potatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 2 large onions (i used yellow onions)
  • 5 spring onions
  • 2 teaspoons of crushed hot peppers
  • 4 large carrots
  • 1 "bunch" of celery heart
  • 1 cup of orzo pasta
  • 1 can of small white beans
  • 1 liter of hearty vegetable broth
  • 1 liter of water
  • a reasonable handful of frozen spinach
  • seasoning to taste
So like most things I make, start with garlic and onions in oil, but this time in a big ol' pot instead of just a deep sauce pan. I followed with the spring onions, cut less fine than I'd usually encourage, but this stew is going to need all the colour we can put into it. I also added two teaspoons of crushed hot peppers, but if you prefer you could use a diced chili pepper or two. If they're pre-crushed they just get into the oil that much quicker. Give it a minute to do its thing, while that's happening peel the potatoes and carrots and cut them into hearty chunks. The celery should get chopped into decent-sized pieces as well. By the time you've finished cutting them all it'll be time to throw them in the pot.
For both additional protein and starch, I added about a cup of orzo and a can of small white beans. They got tossed into the mix, then add the water. Turn heat to high until the water boils, then drop the heat back to medium and add the vegetable broth. Add the frozen spinach, its mostly for the color.
Once you're at this point, its all about seasoning and playing the waiting game. I went with rosemary, black pepper, kosher salt and chives. JaBootaay made some chicken to go with his and our roomie, I had a big bowl of just the stew. Next time, I need to make sure I have quinoa on hand, since that adds a good texture and lot of healthy goodness. You'll notice that despite all the lovely green things I put it everything was beige by the end except for the carrots. This made me sad. I probably should have put in some fresh parsley at the end to remedy that.

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