Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 32: Winter Vegetable Stew

Today I made Winter Vegetable Stew.  It's another multi-step recipe from The Greens Cook Book, that took me several hours today to complete.  It was worth the effort, let me tell you.  Rich, delicious, nice chunky pieces of veggies -- it's warm, filling, and good.  I thought Paul was going to lick the bowl!

First I made the Wild Mushroom Stock.  I've posted the recipe here.   

Next I made the sauce for the stew.  Lots of steps, but again, not a lot of time.  Honestly I could have sat down and ate the sauce just by itself -- it's that good. 

And now it's time to confess what I was supposed to use, but didn't:  I didn't have any brussel sprouts or celery root (couldn't find them at the store) so they were missing from the stew.  I didn't use the dried shiitake mushrooms.  I hate dried mushrooms.  It's fine if it's used like the dried porcini mushrooms to make the mushroom broth, but I don't want to eat them -- I can't stand the texture.  My mom used to make a beef dish when I was young that consisted of dried shiitake mushrooms and sliced beef in gravy that she served over rice.  (You can't see it, but right now I'm shuddering thinking about it.)  Boiling onions?  Nope -- just cut one yellow onion into 8 wedges, and they worked just fine.  Oh, and I added a diced celery stalk, and some diced turnips. 

To round out the meal I made some buttermilk biscuits.  It's a recipe that I found online here.  They are delicious, and so easy to make. 

Winter Vegetable Stew
The Greens Cook Book
Yield:  Serves 6

The Sauce:
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch squares
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup red wine
3 tbsp flour
3 cups Wild Mushroom Stock, heated
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

     Heat the butter and the oil in a wide soup pot with a heavy bottom.  Add the onion, dried herbs, bay leaf, and salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is nicely browned all over, about 15 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and the wine, and reduce by half.  Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes; then whisk in the stock.  Bring to a boil; then simmer slowly, partially covered, for 25 minutes.  Add the parsley and check the seasoning.  There will be about 2 2/3 cups.  

The Stew:
4 to 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
10 ounces boiling onions
4 medium carrots (about 10 ounces)
1 celery root
3 to 4 parsnips (about 10 ounces)
6 ounces mushrooms, wiped clean (I used crimini)
1 small cauliflower, broken into large florets
5 ounces brussels sprouts
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Fresh herbs: parsley, thyme, tarragon, finely chopped

    Cover the dried mushrooms with a cup of hot water, and set them aside to soak for 20 minutes.  Run your fingers over them to loosen any dirt or sand; then remove the caps and cut them inot quarters.  Strain the soaking water and set aside to use in the stew.
     Peel the boiling onions.  Leave then whole if they are small, and half the larger ones, keeping the root end intact.  Peel the carrots; then cut them into pieces about 1 1/2 inches long; halve or quarter the thicker ones so that all the pieces are a similar size.
     Cut away the gnarly skin of the celery root, cut into large cubes, and put it in a bowl of water with a little lemon juice until needed.  Peel and quarter the parsnips, cut out the cores, and slice them into wide sections.  If the mushrooms are small, leave them whole; otherwise cut them into wide, uneven pieces.
     Bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt, blanch the cauliflower for 30 seconds, and remove.  Parboil the brussels sprouts for 1 minutes and remove.  Rinse both vegetables with cold water to stop their cooking.
     Melt half the butter and a tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet or casserole.  Add the onions and carrots, and cook over a medium heat about 3 or 4 minutes, until they begin to get a little color.  Then add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 cup mushroom soaking water, Wild Mushroom Stock, or water.  Lower the heat, cover the pan, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
     In a second pan, heat the remaining butter and oil and add the fresh mushrooms.  Cook them briskly over high heat until they begin to brown; then add a little salt, a few tablespoons of soaking water or mushroom stock, and the garlic.  Cook another 2 minutes; then add them to the casserole along with the dried mushrooms, celery root, and parsnips.  Cook over low heat, covered, for another 3 minutes; then add the sauce, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and fresh herbs.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
     If the stew is to be baked further in the oven, as a shepherd's pie or under a pastry crust, remove it from the heat, transfer it to a suitable casserole, cover it as desired, and bake for 40 minutes at 375.  Otherwise, continue cooking the stew on top of the stove, slowly, until all the vegetables are tender, 10 to 20 minutes; then serve, garnished with additional fresh herbs.  This is a hearty, full-flavored dish that could be served with a zinfandel or a California pinot noir.

Tomorrow night:  Cranberry Bean Minestrone, and Warm Red Cabbage Salad

1 comment:

  1. I think this is one of the best stew/soup recipes that Ann has found. The stock part of the stew was very tasty, and had a stoutness to it. And the vegetables were cooked just right. I especially liked the mushrooms. Ann also made some buttermilk biscuits to go with the stew. Biscuits from scratch, hot right out of the oven! Already looking forward to lunch/left-overs tomorrow...